Hicks Encourages Young Voters

Hayden Hicks Excels in Service Learning Placement at J. B. Watkins Elementary

Hayden Hicks helps a first grader put her ballot in the box.

On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, during her Service Learning placement in Mrs. Adrienne Haskins’ first grade classroom, Midlo senior Hayden Hicks participated in a belated Election Day at J. B. Watkins Elementary. Students came to school wearing red, white, and blue, ready to participate in this carefully planned event that began with creating voter registration cards and culminated with election posters and the casting of votes in a ballot box.

Service Learning, a highly selective class taught by Mrs. Jackie Tully, places Midlo juniors and seniors with an interest in education with mentors at Watkins Elementary, Midlothian Middle, and Tomahawk Creek Middle.   Hicks, a second year service learner, intends to pursue teaching. She likes how Service Learning “gives [her] a little snapshot of what [her] career is going to be like” and, in her case, “get one-on-one time with the kids.” Hicks believes that through participating in Service Learning class, “you know you make a difference.”

Hicks chose to work with first grade students because they are easy to work with but provide a challenge at the same time. She explains that because of their age, they can’t always correctly communicate what they want to say, so she has to put her brain to work in order to figure out their needs.  She also enjoys first grade because they, as very young children, see her as more of an adult figure, rather than, for example, a fourth grade class that might see her as a teenager.  The respect that comes with being viewed as an adult makes the first graders easier to teach.

Mrs. Haskins has participated as a mentor with Midlothian’s Service Learning program for eleven years, and she has enjoyed working with Hicks for the past two years.  For the election project, Mrs. Haskins gave the children voter registration cards to fill out by drawing a picture of themselves and including their names. She then read several books with voting themes, and the main characters of the books became candidates on the ballot. When the children had finished their voter registration cards, they went to the Ms. Hicks, who asked them to recite their names as proof of identification. They each received a ballot to fill out and then placed their votes in the ballot collection box that they had previously made. As expected, the kids had a great time participating in their first election, definitely marking the project as a huge success.