Smithfield third-graders say ‘Vote Me Maybe’

Students in Heather England’s third-grade class at Smithfield Elementary show off for the camera as they try to win a nationwide contest.

Local students at Smithfield Elementary School know what they want in their next president, so much so they’re asking community members to “Vote Me Maybe” and help them when prizes for their school through a national contest.

The group of students from Heather England’s third-grade class spent the last month researching the president’s job and major issues facing the nation, deciding for themselves the top needs of the United States. They compiled their information and put their heads together, rewriting the words to Carly Rae Jepson’s hit “Call Me Maybe,” naming their contest entry “Vote Me Maybe.”

The contest is called “If We Were President” and challenges students to explain how they would lead the country if elected to the nation’s top post. Students collaborated as a class, answering questions like “what policies would you change, what kind of leader would you be, how would you leave your mark and what would be important to you?” The contest was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. England’s class is one of five finalists chosen nationwide out of more than 80 entries.

“We started the project at the beginning of October, researching what the president needed to do and things like that,” England said. “And we decided to write the song to “Call Me Maybe” because when the song comes on, everyone in the class starts singing.”

She broke the class up into several committees including song writing, wardrobe, props and technology, coordinating and collaborating together to come up with the final production.

Nine-year-old Ava Tuttle was part of the song writing committee, where she took the research and knowledge about issues in the nation and helped create unique lyrics and rhymes based on topics like gas prices, education and poverty.

“I had never written a song before but that’s what I want to be when I grow up – a singer/song writer,” Ava said. “I think the hardest part was getting everybody to try and help out with the words and getting everybody to work really hard at it.”

Ava said although the project was fun, especially writing their own song and seeing the final project on YouTube, she also learned several things about the United States in the process.

“I learned that some people don’t have very much money and there are things we need to lower – like gas prices,” she said. “If I were president, I think it would be a tough job.”

Working to sing the song at the right speed proved to be a big challenge, Ava said, but she says it will be well worth it in the end.

“We’ve been getting family members, friends and people from the school to go and vote,” Ava said. “We’ve been trying our hardest.”

If the class wins, they’ll receive an iPad2, $500 worth of Pearson school products and a classroom presidential Inauguration Activity Day Party.

“But the most exciting thing for them is seeing themselves on YouTube,” England said, adding that although they had a great time making the video, it wasn’t always easy. She said her biggest enjoyment was watching the students learn how to work together.

“I think the hardest thing for them was they were worried about other people being mad at them – it was understanding that being a president is really hard and it’s hard to please everyone.”

Voting for their project ends Friday, Nov. 9, and a winner will be named Nov. 16. To view their song and to vote,
visit www.weareteachers.com/grants-contests/grants/pearson-election-contest/vote/.

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