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KUNR Youth Media

Educators are providing support for a new generation of voters

Christopher Lemke (left) and Becca Franssen (right) stand in front of a wall that reads "Democracy is not a spectator sport, Marian Wright Edelman." Franssen gestures towards the wall as the two smile at the camera.
Celeste Rizo
/
KUNR Youth Media
Christopher Lemke and Becca Franssen, members of the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN), point to a quote on the wall at Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nev. on April 21, 2022.

Recent elections have shown that more young people are voting - and that rate is only expected to grow in future elections. KUNR Youth Media Reporter Celeste Rizo explores the support local high school students have been receiving during this election cycle so far.

At Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nev., students are learning about the significance that voting holds. Teachers are encouraging students to participate in our nation's democracy in many ways. Some teachers even offer extra credit to students that show proof that they are registered to vote. One government teacher Mario Fitzpatrick explained how he encourages his students.

“I think number one is educating them on the process of voting,” Fitzpatrick said. “That sounds very simple, but a lot of young people don't know when to vote, or how to vote, or how to register to vote. Educating them on just that process is really important.”

“And then, also building excitement around the election and the issues that are on the ballot. Things that I think help motivate young people to want to participate in the upcoming election,” he added.

There's also a group that directly goes to high schools and registers students to vote. ASUN is the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. Christopher Lemke is with the organization and said that young adults are a critical voting group.

“High schools are the next generation to vote,” Lemke said. “Historically, the demographic between 18 and 24 is among the least likely to vote in our elections, despite being the next leaders of America.”

Becca Franssen is also part of the effort. She said there's a lot of confusion about the voting process, and it could seem daunting for first-time voters.

“Walking around and helping students fill out their forms, or answering questions,” Franssen said. “What it means that they have two addresses – some of these things that you think are so simple, but are not simple.”

Celeste Rizo is a senior at Robert McQueen High School. KUNR’s youth media program is a special partnership with the Washoe County School District to train the next generation of journalists. 

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