Too young to vote, East Grand teens weigh in on Inauguration Day
January 20, 2009
Eleven-year old Kendra Witt has high hopes for Barack Obama’s presidency.
“I think he’ll be a good president,” she said. “He’ll help us come out of our economic down(turn), bring our troops home from war, and help us come together and forget what color skin we have.”
The sixth-grader has stayed tuned to the election this year.
“I watched like all of Barack’s speeches, and I think that it’s great that he’s our first black president and that people are not prejudice, because it doesn’t matter what race you are,” Witt said. “I think he’s a caring person, but also a smart person.”
Witt watched CNN with her East Grand Middle School classmates in Jim Karas’ Ancient History class during the inauguration Tuesday.
“(My students) have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on,” Karas said.
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Karas used the inauguration to compare the ancient governments in their textbooks with that of today. Students discussed the differences and similarities between Egyptian pharaohs and U.S. presidents.
The students watched as a moving van prepared to move former President George W. Bush out of the White House or unpack the Obamas for their move in.
What do you think Obama is thinking right now? Karas asked.
“That this is good,” Witt answered. “Now I can finally make a difference in the world.”
Other students said he was probably nervous about his speech and making a good impression.
Then Karas asked them how Bush might be feeling.
Christian Phillips, 11, said Bush was probably thinking, “This guy stinks, but then he’s happy Barack’s president.”
Phillips said Obama should be a good president “since a lot of people voted for him and he wants to bring change.”
In November, the entire eighth grade of East Grand Middle School held a mock vote for president. In all, the grade voted 60 percent for Obama and 40 percent for John McCain.
However, Loberg’s third hour class broke from the trend, prefering McCain by 80 percent.
That same class sat in Abby Loberg’s social studies class to watched Obama deliver his inauguration speech.
Brenna Barnes, 13, couldn’t support Obama because of his stance on abortion.
“I will respect him because he’s our president,” she said, “but I was kind of hoping for McCain to lead the country.”
Natasha Stenicka, 13, agreed.
“I’m against Obama’s beliefs,” she said. “I hope that the troops will stay in Iraq for a little longer, but I hope he won’t enforce abortion.”
Stenicka would like the 44th president to be a “good influence and a leader.”
Among the class was a voter who considered herself “an independent.”
“I’m (pro-choice) and pro gay marriage,” said Kylie Marchiori, 14. “I don’t see any problem with them. I’m not for the war in Iraq and I’m not religious at all.”
She would like Obama to turn the country greener and boost the economy.
“We need to build that up again,” she added. “We definitely need to work on education.”
Amelia Clancy, 13, who has different beliefs than Obama and Marchiori, hopes he “actually listens to people and does what the people want, and not just what he wants.”
Elly Zietz, 13, said Obama could turn the nation around.
“I think he has what it takes, he’s young and enthusiastic,” she said. “I don’t believe in most of what he believes in, as far as abortion and gay marriage, but I think he is a good speaker and he has the intelligence we need in a president right now.”
” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.