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School Life Meets Real Life In One Philadelphia School’s Elections

(Prinicpal Collete Langston, second from right, with students at Comm Tech High School in Southwest Philadelphia.  Photo provided)

(Prinicpal Collete Langston, second from right, with students at Comm Tech High School in Southwest Philadelphia. Photo provided)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Students at a Southwest Philadelphia high school are getting political, and they’re learning about casting their votes in the real world.

Communications Technology High School prinicpal Collete Langston decided to dovetail this week’s student government elections with a look at democracy in action.

Langston brought in Tracey Gordon, the City of Philadelphia’s deputy commissioner for voter education and outreach, to give a “Get Out the Vote” presentation.

“The presentation talked about the voter ID,” Langston says.  “Her perspective was that it’s a disenfranchisement move. So today, when the students voted, I asked them to present their student ID.  But if they didn’t have it I didn’t make a big deal about it, because I said that’s what’s going on in the country right now.”

Students were also able register to vote in next month’s general election.

Kareem Belgrave, 17 (center of photo), was too young to register but not too young to run for office at his school.

“I’m running for secretary,” he said today.  “I learned that it takes a lot to be a part of a democracy and a lot in order to vote.”

So there it was:  a hands-on civics lesson for Comm Tech’s upperclassmen.

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