Ranger Elementary/Middle School participated in a nationwide campaign to have kids vote for president.

SCOUTING AROUND: Hiwassee Dam, Ranger kids vote for Trump

    For the last three presidential elections, the results of Studies Weekly’s Every Kid Votes mock presidential election has mirrored the results of the real contest. Students at Hiwassee Dam and Ranger schools got to participate this year, both voting on Nov. 1.
    In the nationwide mock election, Democrat Hillary Clinton won with 376 electoral votes and 48.6 percent of the popular vote. However, Republican Donald Trump won at both Cherokee County schools, with 73 percent of the votes at Hiwassee Dam and 75 percent at Ranger.
    “I do know that in fourth and fifth grade, every student voted for Trump except one,” Hiwassee Dam Principal Kami Tipton said. “I think family values play a lot into it. ... I think it shows how the parents are feeling.”
    Shannon Holiday, whose fifth-grade social studies classes organized the election at Ranger, agreed.
    “I think that tells me what they’re hearing at home,” she said.
    Some students said they formed their opinion on the candidates based on what they have heard on the news or in school. Some classes in the schools are even shown CNN Student News, which has had some information about the election in daily 10-minute reports.
    “I listen to (the news) every day,” said Joey Young, a fourth-grade student at Hiwassee Dam. “And my friends talk about it all the time.”
    Ethan Russell, another fourth-grade student at Hiwassee Dam, said they also have learned basic information about the candidates and presidency in class. He liked the opportunity to participate in the mock election.
    “I thought it was cool because you get to cast a vote,” Russell said.
    Voting was done on computers via Studies Weekly’s website. At Ranger, the social studies class made it as much like a real election as possible. They set up Holiday’s classroom as the only polling place with eight different voting stations, then had each student register before voting.
    The student poll workers escorted student voters to a station, then turned their back to give the voters privacy as they voted. The ballots had a photo of the candidate just above his or her name. Voters were given stickers after fulfilling their civic duty.
    Some students in the school were intrigued by the voting process, while others were surprised there were more than two candidates for president. (The Every Kid Votes ballot included Libertarian Gary Johnson as well as Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate.)
    “It brought about a lot of good conversation about the voting process throughout the entire school,” Holiday said.
    In Holiday’s class, where the mock election was project for their regular studies, the students watched as the results came in throughout the week across the country. Since they studied which states voted Republican or Democrat in the past, as well as the demographics of the country, they were confused as they watched states they thought would go red show up as blue for Clinton on the map.
    “They were extremely disappointed,” Holiday said.
    Since Ranger opened the election to the entire student body – only grades 4-8 voted at Hiwassee Dam – there were some students who may have not been as aware as others. Holiday said one little girl said she voted for “the lady,” but when she was asked which one didn’t know.
    At Hiwassee Dam, 114 students voted. Of those, 83 voted for Trump, 15 for Clinton, 10 for Stein and 6 for Johnson.
    At Ranger, 269 students voted. Trump received 202 votes, Clinton 46, Johnson 14 and Stein 7.
    North Carolina was won by Clinton, with a total of 20,078 students voting across the state. Clinton got 48.9 percent of those votes, followed by Trump with 40.2 percent, Johnson with 5.6 percent and Stein at 5.1.
    Across the nation, 780,349 students voted. Trump received the second-most votes at 36.5 percent of the popular vote, earning 159 electoral votes. The rest of the votes went to Johnson and Stein, but Johnson was the only other candidate who won a state – Alaska, and three electoral votes.

Folks auction online
    If anyone missed John C. Campbell Folk School’s Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction on Saturday, they still have the opportunity to participate in the auction on eBay. There 14 items available on the site, with most of the auctions ending Thursday morning.
    Items include a catalpa and walnut vase by John Keeton, gardening gnome cloth doll by Charlie Patricolo, linen hand-woven table runner by Elisabeth Hill, a photograph on canvas by Patricia Adams, a Suzuki digital songcard guitar by Kenneth Long and a salt-glazed face jug by Brant Barnes and the 2016 pottery class.
    The auction also includes items once owned by folk school founder Marguerite Butler Bidstrup – an upright picnic basket and six hand-painted Chinese tea cups with a wooden tray. All auction items can be found at ebay.com/usr/johncampbellfolkschool.

Murphy one of best
    Murphy is one of the 15 best small towns to visit in North Carolina, according to one blog post on social media.
    The post, which featured mostly mountain towns to the dismay of fans of the eastern part of the state, was published at the end of September on The Crazy Tourist blog, run by Jan Meeuwesen of the Netherlands. Several writers contribute to the blog, and the post ranking North Carolina’s small towns was written by Catherine Donnelly, a travel writer based in New York but originally from California.
    The post boasted Murphy’s tree-lined downtown and suggested spending a day enjoying the RiverWalk. The list also included the nearby towns of Sylva, Bryson City and Franklin. Boone was first on the list.
    Meeuwesen started The Crazy Tourist as a hobby about a year ago, and it grew quickly, requiring the use of freelancers. The name refers to Meeuwesen having obsessive compulsive disorder, and him wanting to have a unique name for his website.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.