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Oklahoma high school students delve into election process

Moore High School government teacher Liz Butcher tells class members to study issues, form their own opinions.
BY SARAH HUSSAIN Modified: October 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm •  Published: October 8, 2012


The students' families and religions have an influence on their opinions.

“I was encouraged to do my own research, form my own opinion and make my own analysis,” said John Newton, 17. “Even though most of my family has one political viewpoint, I tend to view another way just because the product of my own experiences shapes the way I see how elections and politics works.”

Kwak said there is a chapter in the textbook that examines how political views are influenced by a person's friends and relatives.

“A lot of it comes from family and religion because that's how you're raised, but as you get older you form your own opinions and that's what I've seen so far,” Kwak said. “When I was younger, I just followed my parents. They're always right, they have to be because they're my parents, but now that I'm doing my own research I found out I disagree with a lot of their opinions, so that's one of my favorite things about this class.”

Good citizenship

Butcher said her teaching about good citizenship will extend beyond the election.

“It is a constant part of our curriculum, of what their role is, what their civic obligation is as a good citizen on the local, state and federal levels.”

This is Newton's fourth year on the debate team, which gave him an introduction to politics, “but Mrs. Butcher's government class really lets you go into a comprehensive study of what the political process is and what you as a citizen have a civic duty to do inside of an election.”

Newton plans to continue his interest in politics by attending law school at the University of Oklahoma.

“After a law degree I would very much like to consider a career in politics or a private practice,” Newton said.

Kwak does not plan a politically oriented career but does “want to be able to vote intelligently and just know my information. Whatever candidate I choose, I want to be the best for me.”

Butcher said she has often reminded her students they have until Friday to register to vote. Eligible students are encouraged to vote before or after school on Election Day.