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Rio Americano Takes Part in Student-Organized Mock Election

A Rio Americano High School student's senior project was organizing a mock election that took place Friday, Oct. 19.

They came to their respective booths, ballot in hand, cast their votes, submitted them, knowing it wouldn't have any impact on the November election.

Despite that fact, Rio Americano High School students turned out, excited to take part in the school's mock election Friday, organized by senior Holly Hillis. The senior had been organizing the event all year for her senior project.

Hollis, a Civitas Political Studies and Public Service Academy student at Rio, interned through the Sacramento County Elections Office, where she was able to collect sample ballots, polling booths and even an official ballot counting machine for students to submit their freshly completed mock votes.

"A lot of kids have been excited about voting," Hollis said.

Hollis turns 18 in December and won't be old enough to participate in the actual November election. Though she's aware of the slight irony, she has enjoyed the experience and hopes other students will as well. The knowledge she has gained through the mock election and Civitas has lead her to consider becoming more active in political and governmental affairs in the future, though.

"It's definitely something I've considered, but I'm still not sure," she said.

The Civitas program, a four-year course that teaches students the importance of political awareness through a number of different curriculum, is coordinated by Linda Reed.

"There are so many kids that interested in the international aspects, that half of the kids who come out of Civitas declare majors in it in college," Reed said. "They are talking about some pretty high-level issues on ethics and government."

Reed explained professors from Sacramento State University will come out six times throughout a semester to discuss more philosophical issues. The students are also required to participate in 100 hours of community service and then placed in internships within various local governmental agencies and nonprofits.

For Willis, the senior's internship placed her in the County Office of Education within the County Elections Office. Her senior project was based on county voting which culminated in the day's mock election.

For more, be sure to check out the attached video, where Reed gives further explanation of the Civitas program.

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