Harrisburg, PA – Acting Secretary of State Robert Torres announced today that 32 high schools across the commonwealth held voter registration initiatives during the first year of the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award (GCEA) program, resulting in 2,955 eligible students being registered to vote.
Fifteen schools* in 13 counties won Gold Level awards for registering at least 85 percent of their eligible student population and one school** won a Silver Level award for registering at least 65 percent of its eligible student population. Eligible students are 18 years of age or will turn 18 on or before the date of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
“We are pleased at the enthusiastic response to this first year of the program. The future of our democracy depends on the next generation’s participation in it,” Torres said. “We want to congratulate the students who worked to earn this achievement and thank the teachers and school administrators who encouraged them with their voter registration activities. This program provides a great opportunity for hands-on lessons in civics. We look forward to continuing the program and seeing more schools participate in the fall.”
The GCEA program, initiated at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, is a cooperative effort by the Departments of Education and State, in collaboration with Inspire U.S., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to transform young leaders’ inspiration into action. The program offers resources and guidance for student leaders as they educate their peers regarding the electoral process and the importance of civic engagement.
"It is never too early or too late to teach someone about the importance of their civic duties and responsibilities," said Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. "I applaud these students for not only being active participants in the democratic process but teaching their peers about the value of voting and being engaged in their communities."
High schools can sign up directly with Inspire U.S., which will support student leaders as they coordinate peer-to-peer voter registration drives and efforts to get out the vote. Inspire U.S. also assists with materials and data management, and in organizing school celebrations and recognition events.
More information about the award is available on the Department of State website.
For more information on voter registration, please call the Department of State’s toll-free hotline at 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772) or visit votesPA.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren, 717-783-1621
* Conestoga High School in Chester County, Purchase Line High School in Indiana County, Canon-McMillan High School in Washington County, Seneca Valley High School in Butler County, Mt. Pleasant Area and Derry Area High Schools in Westmoreland County, Carlisle High School in Cumberland County, Fox Chapel Area High School in Allegheny County, Governor Mifflin High School in Berks County, Blue Ridge High School in Susquehanna County, Middletown Area High School in Dauphin County, Northwest Area and Wyoming Valley West High Schools in Luzerne County, The Episcopal Academy in Delaware County and
Delta Program High School in Centre County
** Pittsburgh Milliones, University Preparatory School in Allegheny County