Marissia Potamianos and Jamie Boeheim
Nov 8, 2016 is a big day for America. It is also a big day for Jamesville-DeWitt High School students who are 18 because this is the first election that they will be able to vote in. The controversial election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will surely be one where everyone’s vote counts.
There are few students who are able to vote in this year’s election, and all of them are involved and interested in casting their vote. Social studies teacher Donna Oppedisano believes that the youth vote is very powerful and can have the ability to sway the election. Senior Zac Ripich said it is “very important to vote because one of the candidates is bad and we should get the learning experience of voting while we can.” Students were able to register during their government class by filling out a piece of paper, so there would be no excuse as to why they can’t vote. Senior Tommy Bonaccio and senior Ben Picone, who are both eligible to vote in the election, said that they registered to vote in government class. Both boys agreed that if it weren’t for Mrs. Oppedisano, they wouldn’t have registered to vote on time.
However, many senior students at J-DHS cannot vote because their birthdays are later than the month of November. As for senior Emily Pomeroy, who is not eligible to vote now, but will in the following elections, thinks that “students are educated enough to vote because government class helps to inform and teach them about politics.” Agreeing with Pomeroy, 17 year-old senior Megan Alkins said, “since some students have the right to vote, they should take advantage of it.” However, she said she doesn’t think students are educated enough to vote because some “take what they hear in the media and make their own opinions about it but they don’t really have their own opinions based on knowledge.” Senior Nathan Fathers is a special case. He is 18, but he is not a United States citizen because he recently moved here from Great Britain. He thinks the election is very “scary.” If Fathers could vote in this election, he would vote for a third party candidate because “Trump’s terrifying and Hillary seems a little corrupt.”
Voting in this election is a privilege for the seniors that are able to vote, but it doesn’t mean that they can slack off and do so without educating themselves on the candidates. Mrs. Oppedisano believes that “Jamesville DeWitt does a great job of educating students for citizenship,” but on top of that they have to educate themselves. Picone believes that he “has a good understanding of both candidates so (he) can make an educated decision.” Unlike Picone, Bonaccio doesn’t know who he’s going to vote for. To prepare for election day, Bonaccio will be rewatching the third debate because he heard “it was good and informational.” Another senior who can vote, Emma Carr, says that she is educated enough to vote because of her knowledge from government class and watching the presidential debates.
When it comes to voting, especially 18 year-olds, people need to have the knowledge prior the election in order to make an educated vote. Students need to educate themselves on the candidates and they also need to realize the effect of their vote. The seniors are looking forward to voting for the first time in an election and taking this big step into adulthood.