Derry, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of State today honored Derry Area High School for efforts that led to voter registration of nearly 88 percent of the school’s eligible students.
“The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award recognizes the efforts of the next generation of leaders to educate their fellow students about their right to vote and engage them in the voting process as soon as they are eligible,” said Peter Speaks, deputy secretary for regulatory programs. “It is heartening to see young people so eager to participate in our democracy.”
The award 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.
Qualification for the award is measured by the percentage of voter registrations among a school’s eligible student population. Students may register to vote if they are 18 years of age or will turn 18 on or before the date of the next primary, special, municipal, or general election.
Schools that attain 85-percent voter registration among their eligible student population will qualify for the Gold Level award, while those that register 65 percent will be honored with the Silver Level award. Derry Area High School achieved 87.8-percent registration of eligible students.
“Our high school administrators empowered students to lead the effort to register eligible voters among their peers. In collaboration with several of their teachers, student leaders waged a multifaceted campaign, creating TV ads, posters, and articles in the student newspaper. They actively recruited students over lunches, setting up a table outside of the cafeteria and handing out voter registration forms,” said Cheryl A. Walters, superintendent of the Derry Area School District. “These students’ passion and commitment to exercising their right to vote inspired their fellow students to register and have their voices heard in upcoming elections.”
The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award was instituted at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. Since then, 16 schools have qualified for the award.
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