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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Highlands High School Wins Award For Registering Every Eligible Senior To Vote

Highlands High School was awarded the Georgia Davis Powers Award from the Kentucky Secretary of State Office for outstanding youth voter registration.

Secretary of State, Alison Lundergan Grimes, said she expects a larger turnout during this primary election, and attributes that expected rise in part to the younger voting electorate.

“Kentucky’s young folks are more energized than ever before when it comes to making their voices heard at the ballot box.  Since the 2016 election, half of all new voters are 18-25 year olds,” she said.  "By achieving 100% voter registration among eligible seniors, Highlands High School is one of just two schools leading the Commonwealth among youth civic engagement.” 

Mr. Mike Hils, a Government teacher at Highlands a Social Studies Department Chair said that he’s proud that Highlands requires a Government class as a graduation requirement for all senior students.

“We are proud of our students for their civic engagement, for registering to vote, and for paying attention to what is going on in politics,” he said. “As students learn the fundamentals of government, they realize that their vote really does matter.  Our goal is that they will always stay engaged in the political process on their own well beyond graduation.”

Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Bill Bradford, agreed with Hils that the department is exceptional in that they are consistently staying on the cutting edge of future trends by instituting initiatives and programming that precedes any particular directive given to them.

“As the state’s requirement of all students successfully demonstrating proficiency on a Civics Test goes into effect next year, the students at Highlands High School have been satisfying this component for years under the tutelage of our incredibly knowledgeable and forward-thinking Social Studies teachers.  They have had the insight and initiative to embed meaningful learning experiences for students without having certain directives assigned to them.”

Highlands seniors have three different Government course options to choose from:  “We the People” is a competition course involving law, political theory, and the U.S. Constitution; AP Government includes an exit exam in which many students earn college credit; and the 3rd option is Regular Government which involves learning about the basics of civics and the U.S. Constitution as well as current political events at all levels - federal, state, and local.

This year, Highlands “We the People” team won its 15th state championship.

Highlands Principal, Jeff Schneider, said he’s appreciative that the Social Studies Department stresses the importance of civic engagement to their students.

“Throughout the year Mr. Hils hosts several different sitting and aspiring politicians for discussions with his students. He allows students to make their own educated decisions when choosing public leaders,” he said. “I am proud that Mr. Hils recognizes the importance of educating the current and future voting base to ensure the proper functions of Democracy.”

In Ms. Kym Grillot’s A.P. U.S Government class, Highlands seniors Davis Guthier and David Patton took the initiative to reach out to Congressman Thomas Massie to extend an invitation to visit Highlands.

“They were pleasantly surprised when he was able to accept and he joined those classes on Monday, May 21,” said Grillot. “We greatly appreciate Congressman Massie’s generosity.”

Each discussion was held in a classroom with smaller groups of students to allow for more personal interactions with the candidates.”

Grimes said that she is hopeful that the voting electorate as a whole will participate at the same rate that she expects Highlands seniors to on Primary Election Day, next Tuesday.

Said Grimes: “I urge all community members to follow these students’ example and visit to check their registration, view their sample ballot, and locate their polling place before the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 22.”

PHOTO: Highlands seniors in Mr. Michael Hils Government class.

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