Learning more about the election process at the polls   

As our nation headed to cast its vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Norfolk Collegiate students also shared in the process.

Our upper school students volunteered their services at several polling stations across Hampton Roads.

For many students, such as Grady Fitzwater ’18, the political process is a part of their interest.

“I hope to go into politics one day,” said Grady. “When I was in the eighth grade, I lived in Richmond for three months helping the Virginia House of Delegates. I also helped my granddad with various campaigns he was a part of, including mayoral and city council elections.”

For other students, particularly our international students, the process was a learning experience.

“Overall the experience was exhausting but very interesting at the same time,” said Feifan Qiao ’17. “Voting is an exciting thing about being a citizen. While we do get to vote back home for our local representatives, we don’t get to vote for the president. We elect those officers to make that decision,” he continued. “Everyone saw that this election was very important. They came in very determined. Everything was organized, and they know they are contributing to the process. The difference between here and China is that people take voting seriously.”

More than 20 students volunteered to assist during the election. Understanding the voting process was instrumental in their learning as many will have the opportunity to vote in the next election.

“I was really thrilled that Stephanie Iles, director of elections and general registrar for the City of Norfolk, came to speak at the upper school assembly to help inform us about the electoral process and about some of the specifics that were on the ballot for Norfolk and Virginia. That was really informative for our students,” said Nicole Weyer, upper school dean of students. “Then, she went above and beyond that by inviting our students to participate in working the polls. We were fortunate to have our students show up at the polls very early. They were pleasantly surprised to be able to watch the nuts and bolts of the process.”

“I got there at 5 o’clock in the morning,” said Grady. “The biggest thing that got to me is that people were already lined up to vote before the doors opened.”

Each of our students helped to guide voters through using the new machines and directing them to which poll to use to place their ballots.

“Our students volunteered more than 14 hours during the elections,” said Anne Claywell ’88, interim head of the upper school. “They represented the school well and had a chance to see democracy in action.”