Community encouragement requested—Friday, November 2, 1:00pm
by Melanie Jongsma
LANSING, Ill. (October 29, 2018) – LeeAnn Revis is planning a parade. As a member of the District 215 School Board, she’s offering TF South and TF North High Schools a practical application of the teaching that happens in Civics, Government, and US History classes: a Parade to the Polls.
The parade would comprise first-time voters at the two high schools. Both North and South are located within walking distance of their public libraries, and both libraries are Early Voting locations. TF North will parade to Calumet City Public Library on Wednesday, October 31. TF South seniors will parade to the Lansing Public Library on Friday, November 2.
“It’s a great idea,” said District 215 Superintendent Teresa Lance. “I was excited that Board member Revis wanted to engage our students in activities that ultimately give back to our community at home and at large. Our students are very intelligent and love to be involved in community events. The Parade to the Polls is just another way for our government officials to recognize the power of our young people’s voices, especially in Thornton Fractional 215.”
TF South Principal Jake Gourley said that about 70 permission slips were distributed to students who will be 18 on or before November 6. Signed slips have been slow to return, but Gourley is hopeful that more will come in by tomorrow’s deadline.
The students will march north on Chicago Avenue to Ridge Road, then west to School Street and north to the library. If the crowd of student voters and families is large enough, a police escort will be available.
State Representative Marcus Evans has indicated that he will attend the event, as has Lansing Mayor Patty Eidam.
In addition, Revis would love to see “marathon-style” support along the parade route, with people lining the sidewalks, posting yard signs, or wearing red, white, and blue to encourage the new voters. “Voting is something we should celebrate and not take for granted,” she says. Not only did people die to initially create this democracy, but, Revis points out, people died for women and people of color to be able to participate in it.
“Voting can be intimidating,” she admits. By going through the process together and generating enthusiasm about it, Revis hopes the experience will create lifelong voters out of a demographic that has typically been missing from the polls. She recalls meeting older voters who have told her, “I’ve never missed an election.” Their parents went to the polls with them and taught them how to vote, and it became a lifelong value. “Wouldn’t it be great if one day these 18-year-olds could say the same thing?” she asks.
Principal Gourley agrees: “Voting is a part of our civic duty. It is our hope that by celebrating first-time voters, TF South will be part of starting lifelong voting traditions.”
The student voters will gather in the lobby at TF South around 1:00pm on Friday, November 2, and the Parade to the Polls will begin as they exit the northwest doors (near the softball fields) around 1:10pm. TF South High School is located at 18500 Burnham Avenue.