SALEM - Like with any election, second graders at Buckeye Elementary listened to the candidates, stood in line to cast their ballots and received a sticker that said "I love voting."
But then they each grabbed a star-shaped cookie decorated with red, white and blue sprinkles and picked out a book of their choosing to keep- all part of the Election Day Reading Is Fundamental program offered by the Salem Junior Mothers Club.
The program kicked off with former Salem teacher and school board member Elizabeth Thatcher of the Salem Storybook Museum reading "Grace for President," a tale about a little girl who can't believe a woman has never been president and decides to run in the school's mock election against a male student. Other students represented each state's electoral votes as they learned about the election process.
Buckeye Elementary School second graders Austin Sheppard, left, and Isabella Zornick cast their ballots for one of two books about running for president while a long line of classmates wait for their turn to vote on Election Day. The vote was part of the Reading Is Fundamental program hosted by the Salem Junior Mothers Club in the school cafeteria. “My Teacher for President” beat out “Grace for President.”
Second grade teacher Kylie Wolfgang then read a book titled "My Teacher for President" while colleague Amy Orville turned the pages. The book told the story of a boy who wrote to a television station about how he and his fellow students were studying the President's job. He thought his teacher would be perfect for the position and described all the reasons why.
When they were finished, the students cast red and blue paper ballots for their favorite book, electing "My Teacher for President" as the winner.
Salem Junior Mothers Club President Judy Anzevino said since the RIF program was taking place on Election Day, they wanted the children to have the opportunity to vote and be educated about the election process. The students had been learning about the election in class.
"It's never too early to teach our students about important things in our country and how it operates and that every vote matters. It's part of teaching a student to be a responsible citizen," Buckeye Elementary School Principal John Lundin said.
He also offered thanks for the Salem Junior Mothers Club and its RIF programming.
"I really appreciate what this organization does for us at Buckeye Elementary. Their support is greatly appreciated and (the program) really engaged our students in the election process as well as encouraging them to be good readers and lifelong learners," he said.