Multiple Teams · 22 Seniors Vote for the First Time

By: Tyrik Washington | Student Reporter
Photography by: Cameron Davis

NEW ORLEANS, LA. —  Why have a voice and not use it to make a change in your community? Why let the rights you have, according to the U.S. Constitution, go to waste?
St. Augustine High School students did something important by casting their vote for the next president of the United States on October 24.
“It felt great to finally vote and this election is very important to me,’’ said Mikel Dixon.  “Voting is our voice and our voice is important.’’

The experience is an integral part of a lesson about life in Mr. Howard’s Civics class.  Every election, he has taken students who are 18 to City Hall in New Orleans, Louisiana to vote. “It’s important to get the students involved in the political process early because they are our future leaders, said Mr. Howard.

For many, doing their civic duty helps them become part of the answer to local problems. “Voting makes a difference. It’s unfortunate when citizens complain about the outcome but never vote,” said  Daylen Briant.

Beyond the presidential candidates, which will impact the policies in the country, local issues like the proposed Amendment to the state’s Constitution asking voters about college tuition control, definitely matter to the teens.

“It was a privilege and I’m glad that I did vote,” said James Waiters, IV.  Prior to going to City Hall, the students researched the local issues on the ballot, which came in handy. “ I felt good making the decision but I felt the wording on the ballot was made confusing, so the average voter wouldn’t understand what the amendment meant,” said Waiters.

In their American Civics course, the students are learning about the history of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and the roles many teens played in getting that measure passed. “I show them real life experiences and make it connect with their generation to show them why they should take the political process seriously,” said Mr. Howard.

The lesson about being active and knowledgeable about political issues does not stop with voting. The Speech and Debate team will join the school’s journalism students and host a get out the vote phone bank party Nov. 7.

In an effort to increase voter turnout in the city, students will call more than 2,000 voters and encourage them to exercise their Constitutional right. “At Saint Augustine, where the school has a rich history in doing more than just what’s expected, calling voters in the community is yet another example of how we show everyone what it means to be a Purple Knight,” said school principal, Sean J. Goodwin.

By: Tyrik Washington | Student Reporter
Photography by: Cameron Davis