Zombies, Barbies elect student government at Piney Grove Middle School in Cumming
Piney Grove’s convention offers fun way to educate on electoral process

by Caitlin Wagenseil

October 22, 2013

CUMMING, Ga. – Students at Piney Grove Middle School had the opportunity to dress in all different kinds of costumes on Thursday, Oct. 17. Some were scary, but this was no Halloween party.

The school held its third annual student forum convention to elect the school’s student body president and vice president, simulating a national convention, complete with zombies.

The school, 8135 Majors Road in Cumming, elected eighth-graders Maria Carmona as president, and Ashlyn DeCarlo as vice president.

“This is a wonderful act of what a democratic process is all about,” said Terri North, principal at Piney Grove MS.

Each eighth-grade homeroom represented a “state” of their own choosing, ranging from “State of Zombie,” “State of Barbie,” and even “State of Old People.”

Throughout the convention, students cast their ballot for presidential and vice presidential candidates. Runners up Abhinav Sehgal and Suchit Godala became the school’s treasurers.

Some sixth- and seventh-graders served as representatives, while the rest were in attendance as onlookers.

Special guests included state Rep. Mike Dudgeon and Forsyth County Board of Education Superintendent L.C. “Buster” Evans.

Dudgeon spoke to the students about the Electoral College and popular votes.

“Always be informed,” Dudgeon said. “As you grow up, make sure you understand how important it is that you know who you’re voting for.”

The week before the convention, student candidates gave speeches, put up campaign signs and distributed flyers to their fellow students as a way to campaign.

“We’ve had a great week of campaigning, and my hope is that many of the students will learn a little more about our democratic voting process and that our future eighth-graders will get involved in student government,” said Joan Irwin, a teacher and student government advisor.