Carrie Deal on her experiences registering her peers to vote at Sherman High School.
When I first walked into Marshall University to attend the Inspire WV Leadership Academy, I had no idea that it would end up being some of the best three days of my life. I was instantly welcomed and, within a few minutes, felt like I had already made so many new friends. I just knew that this program was something special. I was in awe of how wonderfully structured the program was, since this was the pilot seminar in West Virginia. I learned so many new aspects and methods pertaining to the campaign, election, and voting processes and, by the end of the camp, I thought of the overall election process in a new way and from a different perspective. Everyone involved was so kind and encouraging, and the program definitely boosted my self-confidence in allowing my voice to be heard. It was so nice to hear from guest speakers who had actually been involved in the elective process and were so eager to answer our questions. I also gained many more outstanding mentors, who I knew would be there for me and all of the other Inspired Leaders even after Leadership Academy was over. Going back to Sherman High School, I became extremely excited to get our students registered to vote and let them know that they do have a voice in how their national, state, and local governments are run and that they should use that voice. The first event Emily and I hosted took place at lunch in the gym lobby, and we were very thankful to have the help of two employees from the County Clerk’s Office. Although we were only able to register a few students, I thought the event went very well, especially since the County Clerk’s Office employees were so helpful and could take the registration forms right back with them to the office. We took several pictures with the help of our wonderful student photographer, Hannah, and we had a lot of fun.
The second and most recent event we held was just yesterday (December 4, 2014), and the setting for this registration was the cafeteria during the time set aside for PEP (Personalized Education Plan) in our school. We called all of the seniors to the cafeteria, and it worked out extremely well, because our counselor also had something for the seniors to do that made the process easier for her. All of the seniors were eligible to register to vote in the next election by this time, and I think our event got them excited to have the ability to vote. Chelsea Costello helped us out tremendously, and we were so happy to have her there with us! I believe our seniors truly enjoyed this time, and I definitely did too! Inspire WV has built my excitement for voting greatly! I just turned in my registration form yesterday, and now, I cannot wait to vote in the next election! I feel that this is a significant step in becoming an independent adult and, after voting, I know that I will feel that I have input in the decisions our leaders in government make. I am so thankful to be part of the Inspire WV program and love everyone involved! I would absolutely encourage any student who expressed interest to become an Inspired Leader, and I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to join this special program. :)
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