BPS Students Participate in Student Poll Worker Program on Election Day
About 60 Boston Public Schools (BPS) students got a first-hand look at the democratic process by working as poll workers on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, as part of the Student Poll Worker Program.
Now in its second year, this collaboration between the City of Boston Elections Department and the BPS History and Social Studies Department gives high school students an opportunity to work alongside 1,500 poll workers across the city.
“Providing students a real-life glimpse at how the democratic process works is quite powerful,” said Natacha Scott, director of history and social studies for BPS. “Many of our students have a greater appreciation of the importance of voting and using their voice for positive change because of this great experience. It was also wonderful to see our students learning from veteran poll workers, who were able to share their years of experience on the importance of civic engagement.”
The students, who represented 13 BPS high schools, checked in voters, assisted people with mobility issues, and even used their multilingual assets to act as language interpreters for voters who are not fluent in English.
Students also helped close the polls, count the ballots, and prepared them for pick-up from the Boston Police Department.
All of the students received formal training from the Elections Department, as well as school credit, community service hours, and a modest stipend for their participation.
“It deepened my understanding of the election process,” said Kamau Whitsey, a sophomore at New Mission High School in Hyde Park. “It shows that everyone is important in the election process. … If more young people vote, we have a better chance of getting a good candidate in office.”
“It’s important for young people to support and be involved in the election process because we have a voice,” said Joey Nguyen, a senior at the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science in Roxbury. “As youths, we are overlooked by adults, and, in a sense, they think they know what is best for us. Knowing that we can be involved in changing that by voting, as well as running for office, is important.”
“Going in, I thought it was going to be completely different than what it was,” said Anjelia Hernandez, a senior at Boston Arts Academy. “Everyone’s voice is valid and needs to be heard.”