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PMSA Students Lead the Way as Judges in Illinois Primary

March 18, 2016 01:44 PM
A group of students from Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy played a role in the March 15 primary election.
Part of the Student Election Judge Program with the Cook County Clerk’s Office, the PMSA students were among hundreds of suburban Cook County high school students who manned polling stations across the county as election judges. Working in schools, churches, libraries, and anywhere else where registered voters could cast their vote for their party’s nominee for governor, senator, and other offices, the students did everything from verifying voters’ identities and registration to preparing ballots for voters to cast their selections.
To qualify as a student judge, a student must be at least a junior in high school, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, be an American citizen by the next election, complete an election judge training course through the clerk’s office, and have written consent from their principal and a parent.

For the students, it was an opportunity to serve in the community and to help with this country’s electoral process, despite working from the opening of the polls at 6 a.m. to when they closed at 7 p.m.
"When I vote, I’ll know how it goes," said Juanita Lazenby, a PMSA senior who worked at the Maywood Fire Station. "Hearing how other people think about voting when they come in makes me want to vote even more. They say that it’s our generation and that they will be our problems when we get older."
Her PMSA senior classmate, Brian Arredondo, worked at Progressive Life Church in Hillside. He said that working as an election judge was a good chance to serve in the community while learning more about the election process.
"I had never really given back to the community, so I figured this would be a good opportunity," he said. "It is a big deal feeling like I am involved in the higher order of the government and having a say in it. It’s a big deal."
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that students as well as other family members benefit from their work at the polls.
"They gain a sense of civic responsibility and begin to gain an understanding of what the privilege to vote really means," she said. "Naturally, it follows that they are far more likely to vote in the future.
I’m proud of the work that they did."
Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of District 209, said that it was exciting to see students contributing to the democratic process.
"I am excited to see so many of our students understanding the importance of participating in our democracy," she said. "I look forward to seeing them learn more about the issues and going out to vote based on that information."
The following PMSA students worked as election judges during the March 15 primary election:
  • Ulyces Gutierrez, PMSA junior
  • Eric Rodriguez, PMSA senior
  • Felicia Oduh, PMSA senior
  • Nikeiya Stiff, PMSA senior
  • Brian Arredondo, PMSA senior
  • Dezstiny Dockery, PMSA senior
  • Juanita Lazenby, PMSA senior
  • Nombeko Marshall, PMSA senior
  • Leslie Mora, PMSA senior
  • Leslie Rodriguez, PMSA senior 


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