Jemison Middle inaugurates gifted class presidents
By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer
County commissioners visited the students of the gifted program at Jemison Middle School as they finished their mock elections and inaugurated presidents.
The students had been learning by imitating a presidential election. They created policies, gave speeches and budgeted their campaigns.
“We began following the presidential election from the very first,” gifted teacher Rachel Mims said. “From declaring their candidacy to debating, we went through primaries, they planned a budget for campaigning, so we had to end it this way with the inauguration and a presidential ball.”
Students learned how to research and take a position on assigned topics. Mims said the students from each class she teaches created their own political parties. To make the material relatable, their campaigns centered on things they could achieve at school.
On Jan. 18, the day of one of the class’s presidential inauguration, county commissioner Jimmie Hardee spoke to the children of Mims’s class about government.
Students had questions about the voting system, the number of commissioners and what it was like to campaign. Hardee answered these and explained how campaigning could be hard work, but very rewarding and even fun.
“You don’t always have to be the bad guy to get elected,” Hardee said.
The students had learned in their class that it is better to vote for a candidate than it is to vote against a candidate, and to always research the policies that politicians support.
The president-elect of Mims’s class was Randy Peraza, who ran in the Democratic Wolftail Party. His favorite policy was the idea of a school shop where students could get school supplies if they did not have any that day.
Peraza chose to be sworn in by Hardee. Mims played a brief section of “Hail to the Chief” and Peraza read the Oath of Office from the whiteboard in front of the class.
The students celebrated their new president with snacks in the inaugural ball that followed.