Written by Hannah Pisani, Communications Department Intern
A group of Maine West students recently participated in the Mikva Challenge Elections in Action program held in Iowa. While there, they were given the opportunity to attend presidential candidate rallies and meetings. Maine West Social Science teachers Tracy Parciak and Gwynne Ryan accompanied the students to this event that was held from January 18-20.
“Maine West has been working with Mikva Challenges since 2008,” says Ryan. “Mikva is a nonprofit. nonpartisan organization that works to help students learn about the election process. This organization started in Chicago and now serves a number of schools in suburban Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. Students enrolled in government class were invited to participate and we had six students who attended.”
Not only did the students meet Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, they took part in a caucus simulation that was centered on youth matters in order to better understand how caucusing works. Also, the students met a postgraduate student who taught them about Get Out the Vote (GOVT) and the process of precinct captains running for caucus.
“I would definitely do this over again,” says student Graciela Breton-Solano. “I had a lot of fun chasing candidates and seeing what they had to say in person. It was overall a great learning experience.”
“I loved to see the kids get excited about seeing the candidates,” says Ryan. “This experience really does help students develop the life-long desire to be politically engaged and active.”
Although the details are not fully determined, there is an interest among the students who attended the Mikva Challenges to have school vans take students for early voting during lunch periods.