Students Take Democracy Seriously League Helps Register Teens before Election

Article excerpt

Who says younger voters don't go to the polls?

Several newly-registered St. Francis High School students intend to have their voices heard Nov. 7 when they head into the voting booth for the first time.

The students and a few faculty members signed up as part of a voter registration drive held at the school last week with the help of Gretta Tameling of the Wheaton League of Women Voters.

Senior Mark Crnich, who will turn 18 Oct. 16, said his current American government class has piqued his interest in this year's election.

"I can tell this election is shaping up to be a close one," Crnich said.

Although many voters feel alienated and unaffected by the whole campaign and election process, Crnich and other students said they intend to turn out Nov. 7.

"I definitely think I can influence the outcome of this election," Crnich said. "I'm excited about it. You feel like you have a part in deciding who's going to be president."

That attitude is music to Tameling's ears. It isn't easy convincing people that the outcome of an election has a direct impact on their lives, she said.

"This election will effect you," she said, listing a variety of issues from educational and job opportunities to taxes, retirement plans and defense spending that will impact lives.

"The league's whole mission is to get people registered and get people the information they need to make an informed decision," Tameling said. "Our democracy will fail without it."

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 7 election.

Nonpartisan information on candidates is available on the Internet at

A lifelong lesson

It only takes a little bit of change to make a big difference in someone's life.

It's a lesson Wood Dale School District 7 students have been learning with enthusiasm.

For the past two weeks, students at Westview and Oakbrook elementary schools and Wood Dale Junior High School have been dipping into their pockets, piggy banks and other places for coins as part of "Change for Change. …