Students from all three of the valley schools were front and center at the Iowa City Public Library for the first caucus of the year.
“Hearing it in class and then being able to see it was very interesting. We went to a site that was very chaotic, it was very busy and a very small area. They expected to have far less constituents than they had and it was really cool to see how they handled that,” said Waubonsie Valley Senior, Andres Zucchi.
Though only 400 voters were anticipated, 646 showed up, catching volunteers off guard.
So, when it came time to count the votes, things got confusing as many supporters of the same candidate were in different rooms.
“It was kind of loose. There’s cards and then you have to count and was that a real count, then seeing how it came down to coin flips in some places. Democracy is very much on a personal level in Iowa,” said Head Government Teacher at Waubonsie Valley, Chris Wolak.
In the end, Sanders was the winner at their site, with six delegates and after adding last minute supporters Clinton got one.
In addition to the big event, students also had a chance to campaign for candidates in the afternoon, making calls, interacting with residents, and even going door to door.
“There was this one woman there, Veronica, and she was crazy, taking the entire thing by storm. And I had canvased her house so it was really cool to see someone who I had talked to before at the caucus,” said Arman Dhar, a Senior at Waubonsie Valley.
Wolak hopes to take part in the next caucus, but will cherish the memories made at this one.
“I don’t want to say it was a once in a life time experience because we could do it again in four years, but it was one of a kind and it made me proud, people really cared and they showed that they cared,” he said.
The trip was made possible through the district’s partnership with the Mikcva Network, the McCormick Tribune Foundation, and the John C. Dunham Foundation.
Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.
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