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Political fun at Piney Grove
Middle school uses convention format
Britney Garrison runs into the gymnasium with her Piney Grove classmates as the "state of nerds" during the middle school's first student government convention Wednesday. - photo by Autumn McBride

With the Nov. 2 general election just weeks away, the states stood up and cast their votes at home.

In this case, it was the "state of confusion," "state of royalty" and "state of nerds," to name a few.

Students at Piney Grove Middle School got a dose of the democratic process during their first student government convention Wednesday.

The south Forsyth school elected its president and vice president team by casting one electoral vote from each of the 18 eighth-grade home rooms (the states), two for the seventh-graders and three for sixth grade.

At the convention, delegates and representatives ripped open envelopes to reveal how each sector had voted.

"The state of superheroes casts their vote for Haley and Christy," delegate Sarah Kale announced.

The superheroes cast one of the 14 electoral votes that elected the students' new student council administration.

Though she was able to explain the difference between popular and electoral votes, Kale thought the result may have been the same in this case.

It could be "nerve-wracking" for those who are running, she said, but she found the whole process to be "pretty exciting."

Wearing superhero pajamas, Kale said part of the fun was dressing up.

To get the crowd pumped up, each of the 18 eighth-grade classes represented their state by donning costumes and parading around the room with signs.

The sixth- and seventh-graders watched from the bleachers, observing what could become a school tradition.

Newly elected vice president Christy Kang was proud of her school's innovative way to choose student council members.

"This is what we're going to do when we grow up," Kang said. "I didn't even know we did something like electoral votes in real life. This was a big lesson."

The students ran in president and vice president pairs, but in this case the runners-up became the eighth-grade representatives.

Parker Chambers, a part of that pair, said his bid for president was fun, especially the campaigning.

He saw the connections to running for a national office, even if some of his platform was for school spirit days instead of tax reform.

"It comes down to proposals and what you say to the people and how they react to what you're going to do and change to improve the school," he said. "I guess that's kind of how the election goes when you get to a higher level."

Chambers got a glimpse of the bigger picture while listening to Sandra Deal, wife of Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal, talk to students about the importance of making good choices.

Casting votes can be a "really big deal," new school president Haley Naylor said, and she's looking forward to making some choices to represent the students and their various "states."