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First-time voters get helping hand

While many young, first-time voters took to the polls to vote with parents and relatives, a group of students at Steelton-Highspire had a unique opportunity to go together.


The district offered transportation and guidance for students eligible to vote for the first time.


SteelHigh Senior Voters111412Submitted Photo A dozen seniors and first-time voters at Steel-High had the chance to head to the polls together. From Left to Right: Jasmine Reeder, Jorge Millisock, Khadijah Robinson, Gary Davis, Shacola Allen-Moody, Tamekia Woods, Cache Mills, Logan Davis, Sy-heed Johnson, Paul Jameel Cooper, James Carter, Jose Colon. Chris Chyr, senior class advisor and social studies teacher, and Peter Boyajian, a social studies teacher, transported the students to the polls and helped them with the voting process.


“Voting for the first time is both very exciting for the students, but it can also be very intimidating for them, so going along with them helps alleviate any anxiety and to answer any questions they may have,” said Chyr.


Jameel Cooper, of Steelton, said most of what he learned about the election and the process was in Chyr’s Problems of Democracy and Economics class.


The course includes a unit on the election and voting process.


Chyr said he also explains and summarizes the political ideologies of the two major parties.


“I have all of the students take a political ideology test to determine where they fit on the political spectrum, and had them identify the candidates that most closely matched their views on the issues they felt were most important,” he said.


James Carter, of Steelton, said Chyr also helped him register to vote.


“It was kind of exciting and nervous at the same time,” he said.


“It was exciting to vote because it was an important election,” said Cooper.


Cooper, as well as some of his classmates favored President Barack Obama’s views on healthcare and education.


“I like how he wants to help everybody, and he doesn’t distance himself from problems,” said Logan Davis, of Highspire. “I was very excited that I could pick who I wanted to be my president.”


Davis was happy he went with the class, and appreciated the school’s support.


“I think that was a very nice thing our school did. I think they care about us making a difference,” he said. “It was fun to do with everybody.”


While around 20 students were eligible to vote, some chose to vote with their parents.


Tamekia Woods of Steelton, who met Obama in Harrisburg in 2008, went with her dad to the polls.


“We went into the wooden booth to vote,” she said. “I knew what to do, but he was also excited.”


Carter said voting made him feel like an adult.


“I went by myself. It was kind of a good experience because it made me feel like I am more independent,” he said.
Chyr has been taking students to vote since 2007, and said it’s a good experience.


“It has been very successful every time I have taken students, and they always seem very proud afterwards,” he said. “It is a very rewarding experience as a teacher to see them in action.”


Noelle Barrett: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.