September 18, 2013
CHS marks Constitution Day with vote registration
In recognition of Constitution Day on Tuesday, about 15 Cortland High School students registered to vote in economics, government and American history classes, claiming a right upheld by the holiday’s namesake.
Jeff Guido, an American history teacher who has been at Cortland High School for 20 years, said he and his colleagues have marked Constitution Day annually since its inception in 2004.
“We make a conscious effort to talk about the constitution and its ratification all day long,” Guido said. “We talk about its relevance today, like if the Bill of Rights extends into the classroom.”
Guido, who teaches primarily juniors this year, said he had about six students who were old enough to register.
“It think it’s worthwhile,” Guido said. “Many of them aren’t aware until you bring it up to them how simple the registration form is.”
Guido’s colleague, Chris Gregory, also had about half a dozen students register.
Gregory, who started at Cortland in 1972, said she spent parts of each class Tuesday discussing sections of the constitution that intrigued her students. In the light of the recent mass killing in Washington D.C., many of Gregory’s students were interested in the Second Amendment. Though her classes did not reach a consensus on the issue of gun rights, Gregory said that they “agreed to disagree.”
Gregory said she sees great worth in understanding the United States’ system of government, though she is wary of relegating inquiry to just a single day.
“Anytime we can give kids a chance to learn about and question their government, it’s good,” said Gregory. “This is a chance to give kids a chance to focus on what really is the envy of the world.”
Mackenzie Sherman, an 18-year-old junior who is a member of Guido’s ninth period American history class, was one student who registered to vote.
“I’ve always wanted to vote,” Sherman said. “I thought it would be pretty cool.”
Sherman said she hails from a politically aware household.
“My whole family is big on that,” Sherman said, adding that their views do not always line up. “They’re half and half.”
Guido said that the importance of the step of becoming a voter cannot be overlooked.
“It does have an effect on them today,” he said. “In years past I’ve had students come in after an election and tell me how excited they were to vote for the first time.”
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