Category Archives: Kids Voting Central Ohio

Kids Voting Central Ohio Awards Two Scholarships

Kids Voting Central Ohio recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to two outstanding students who exemplify citizenship, political awareness, and participation in the democratic process. These scholarships, are funded through contributions from members and designated donations.
Shareeque Sadiq:
Shareeque has been a member of the Kids Voting Central Ohio Youth Council, and this spring served as a Youth at the Booth poll worker for the primary election. Born in Pakistan and raised by a single mother, Shareeque overcame many obstacles to become an Eagle Scout, a member of National Honor Society, and Senior Class Treasurer.
Hayley Sayre:
Hayley was a Kids Voting Youth at the Booth poll worker during the 2012 presidential election, at age 17. Hayley serves as Student Council President and was class Vice President for three years. She also is a member of National
Honor Society.

My Duty as a Citizen

“My Duty as a Citizen” was the theme of the Kids Voting Brownsville Spring 2013 Art and Multimedia Contests
that were open to students in all Brownsville schools.

Winners from among the more than 160 semi-finalist submissions were announced in early May after being judged by members of The University of Texas at community and members of the Brownsville community.

The contests gave Brownsville students the opportunity to display their knowledge of civic responsibilities in creative ways. Students expressed ideas of responsible citizenship by illustrating the importance of voting, the voting process, maintaining a safe and healthy environment, among many other ideas.

Contest winners were presented with prizes fully funded by local businesses.

High School Seniors Participate in Voting Process; 10,000 Since 2005

Since the initial Pilot Program in November of 2005, more than 10,000 high school seniors have helped Central Ohio voters as part of the Youth at the Booth program.  In partnership with the Franklin County Board of Elections, Kids Voting of Central Ohio operates the Youth at the Booth program which recruits, trains, and places 17- and 18-year old high school seniors as official poll workers each election.

Jeff Cabot, executive director of Kids Voting of Central Ohio, said, “This is real, hands on experience in democracy.  The students constitute a talented workforce for conducting the election and get an important lesson in civics that is highly valued by educators.”

According to Suzanne Helmick, founding Director of Kids Voting, “when we began the program, students had to be 18 years old to work at the polls. But we worked with area legislators and students from Columbus Alternative High School to amend the law.” The state law was changed in 2006 to permit 17-year old high school seniors to serve as official Precinct Election Officials in Ohio.
The students are recruited through the Kids Voting partnership from all Franklin County school districts and trained as Machine Judges to operate the voting machines used in Franklin County.  They are paid the same as adult poll workers and work the same long day – 5:30 a.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m.

William Anthony, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections said, “Our experience with the student poll workers has been very positive.  They are an essential part of our operation.”

Dana Walch, deputy director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, observed that “Youth at the Booth students are likely to remain involved in the political process, so this program provides a next generation of poll workers and active voters.”
Kids Voting now works with the Delaware County Board of Elections as well.

“This is a significant milestone in our work to grow the next generation of active, informed citizens.  Look for the white Youth at the Booth tee shirts at your polling place on Election Day,” Cabot concluded, “and congratulate them on their initiative and performance of a civic duty.”

Youth Council Tours Board of Election

The Kids Voting Central Youth Council toured the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE) on February 21, where they were welcomed by Director William Anthony. They were given an overview of the board’s work serving the 800,000 registered voters in the county. Deputy Director Dana Walch then led them on a tour where they observed the system for preparing and mailing the 175,000 – 200,000 mail-in absentee ballots the board processes in a general election. The board’s state-of-the-art equipment was impressive. Both Mr. Anthony and Mr. Walch gave high praise for the 1,500 high school students who served as poll workers each year through our Youth at the Booth program.

June Educator of the Month

KVUSA is pleased to announce that Felix Catheline is the June Educator of the Month. Mr. Catheline is the AP Government Teacher for Columbus South High School, which is part of Kids Voting Central Ohio. Felix is the point person at South High School for all Kids Voting programs, including the DoubleClick mock election, the Kids Voting Youth Summit, the Youth at the Booth program and the Youth Council. Additionally, Mr. Catheline’s class attended this year’s Naturalization ceremony and registered 91 new citizens to vote.

Citizenship Scholarship Awarded

Kids Voting of Central Ohio created the Kids Voting Citizenship Scholarship in honor of Suzanne Helmick, the founding director of KVCO. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a high school senior who demonstrates leadership and a commitment to citizenship through community and school activities.


For 2012 the scholarship winner is Zak Davidson of the Metro Early College High School in Columbus, Ohio. Zak has served on the Kids Voting Youth Council for two years and has been engaged in extensive civic leadership activities.Zak cited a Youth Council meeting with State Representatives Ted Celeste and Michael Stinziano as being inspirational to him. “Youth Council has had a prominent role in the shaping of my concept of citizenship through engaging and intriguing discussions,” Zak said.

While maintaining a 4.0 at the Metro school, Davidson has been engaged with National Honor Society, co-founded Metro’s first student government organization, and earned 65 credit hours at the Ohio State University. He is also a pitcher for his home Whetstone High School. Zak plans to major in political science nest year at either Ohio State or Tulane University.

Winners – Making an Impact Contest 6th – 8th Grade

This year’s winners for the 6th – 8th grade category are Madison Dowdy, Hunter Harvey, Elizabeth Hoepner, and Alisa Reneau from Lithia, Florida.  Kristy Verdi is the project sponsor and social studies teacher at Randall Middle School.  This project not only showed collaboration by involving the entire middle school, but also impacted the community.  These students created a display honoring the victims of September 11th outside the school for everyone to see.  The display was in the shape of a flag made up of individual “markers” for each and every victim.

Click here to read the winning essay.

Winners – Making an Impact 9th – 12th Grade

This year’s winners for the 9th – 12th grade range are Tiara Brooks, Jessica Ireland, Tori Wilson, Michael Himes and Stephanie Walker from Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida.  The sponsoring teacher is Tony Pirotta.  These students presented an idea for a law, which requested the proper rights be granted to a seemingly invisible population of young people, unaccompanied youth, which is any one youth under the age of 21“who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and who are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so”.  Willis stated, “These students understand what it means to be an active citizen.”

Click here to read the winning essay.

January 2012 Educator of the Month

KVUSA is pleased to announce that Kay Slone is the January Educator of the Month. Ms. Slone is a social studies teach at Eastmoor Academy, which is part of Kids Voting Central Ohio. As an AP government teacher in an urban Columbus City School, Kay has committed herself to teaching students how to find their voice in the political process. In addition to participating in the Youth at the Booth and Youth Summit programs, Kay’s students attend city council meetings, candidate forums and neighborhood commission meetings. Kay’s vision of the engaged, educated student matches the model provided by Kids Voting Central Ohio and Kids Voting USA. She tirelessly seeks out opportunities for her students to become involved in and knowledgeable about the political process.

More than 900 Students Work as Poll Workers

Dave Fields had his first experience working at the polls as a Youth at the Booth student from Hilliard Davidson High School in 2007.

He is now a graduate of The Ohio State University, and an Intern Teacher at Independence High School in Columbus. As a teacher, he feels that one of the best ways to interest his students in government is to introduce ways to be involved in their community. He has found it important to discuss and know our history, but he finds students relate more to what’s going on now. Kids Voting’s Youth at the Booth experience is an excellent way for high school seniors to begin that process.

Kids Voting Central Ohio recruited and trained more than 900 students to work as Precinct Election Officials this month in Franklin County.