Muscle Shoals teacher uses election season as teaching opportunity

Local students are getting involved this election season

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - A Muscle Shoals teacher is using this historic election as an important teaching opportunity.

Most of these students can’t vote but they are certainly learning its importance.

Making voting a teachable moment -- that’s what muscle shoals history teacher Mandy Mathis is doing.

“They are the future and we know that the less number of voters occur in the 18 to 24-year-old category and with them coming to age and them having some of the issues future issues like student loans, etc. they are the ones that really need to have the voice,” said Mathis.

Her students look at political ads, demographics, read articles, learn about voting eligibility, and today they did a mock election

She said that with research and discussion, whether they vote this year, or next time around, they’ll be prepared.

“Making sure that they are able to take the ideas that we learn here, try to keep it a very non-partisan class so they are able to form their own opinions and share and express those opinions with others,” said Mathis

Reagan Hugley gets to do exactly that. She is a first-time voter and says the class encourages her to make up her own mind.

“I grew up my whole life hearing my parents and what they believe and their political beliefs, but now I am really seeing why they have those beliefs and how I fall into those beliefs and what my beliefs say about my party. So just really being able to see why those beliefs are established,” said Hugley

“We do a bunch of things differently so that each person can really understand each part of the election and I know for me all the activities she’s done in a fun way because that’s how I learn that’s really helped me know who I should vote for and know how those people think,” said Carter Arnold.

And now, Arnold, will head to the polls in less than two weeks to cast his vote for the first time.

“Now that we are 18, it feels like we have a say in the matter and we are able to go and make a difference in the ballots and results and stuff,” said Arnold.

Mathis also said that even if most of her students can’t vote, being informed will help them when they can.

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