Favorite animal? Best cookie? Local students cast Election Day votes

Marissa Thomas and Aubrey Hernandez participate in St. John Neumann Catholic School’s mock election on Nov. 8.
Marissa Thomas and Aubrey Hernandez participate in St. John Neumann Catholic School’s mock election on Nov. 8.

From Maryville to Millstadt, students across the metro-east cast votes in their very own Election Day.

Fifth- through eighth-grade students at St. John Neumann Catholic School in Maryville spent the last few weeks learning about the democratic process in their social studies classes. Then, they voted with the rest of America on Nov. 8. Candidates were the students’ favorite animals.

Upperclassmen helped by making campaign posters, registering voters, working the polling places and counting ballots to eventually name a winner: Alligator.

Emge Junior High School students also assisted third-graders with their mock election in Belleville. The older students passed out stickers and counted the results for Ellis Elementary School’s winner: Democrat Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State also earned the most votes from students at Harmony Intermediate and the junior high school, which had its own mock election.

Students at Maryville Elementary School in Granite City voted in their first mock election this year. Principal Mark Lull called it a schoolwide, hands-on social studies lesson.

The results were as close as the actual presidential race, but with a different winner: Clinton got 222 votes from the elementary students, while President-elect Donald Trump got 210.

But a majority of Highland Middle School’s voters chose Trump. In their mock election, 418 students cast votes for the Republican, compared to 131 for Clinton.

In Millstadt, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders gave Trump a victory, too: with 170 votes to Clinton’s 58.

Even pre-kindergarten students in Millstadt got involved in Election Day, casting their votes for Oreos or Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies. Principal Sandi Pegg said the results were split: One class went with Oreos, while another decided on chocolate chip.

Marissa Elementary School saw both a mock debate and mock election in which students thought hard about the candidates: their favorite snack foods. In the end, ice cream was victorious.

“It was so much fun watching the students learn about our political process. We had our gifted students run the entire experience,” said Principal Brent Whipple.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes