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Butte Central teacher brings 18-year-old government students to vote for the first time

Butte Central Teacher Melissa Hibbard.jpg
Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-08 19:59:32-05

BUTTE — It is a very busy Election Day in Butte; in fact, it’s a day of new things, including a new polling location at the Butte Plaza Mall in the former Herberger’s building.

Now, there are also some very new voters. A teacher from Butte Central took her 18-year-old government students to the polls to vote for the very first time.

“I think it’s awesome for us to come here as a class from Butte Central to be able to vote together for the first time,” said Butte Central Senior Mia Keeley.

Butte Central Teacher Melissa Hibbard wanted her government class to be more than just a classroom education, so she had three of her eligible students get registered and come out to vote.

“This is a real-world lesson, actually showing them the implications of it, helping them feel empowered and engaged, and then actually doing the process. I mean, I can’t think of a better way to teach government,” said Hibbard.

The students said they spent time in class learning about the ballot issues and all the candidates so they would be informed about their decisions.

“We talked to doctors about different issues like the LR-131, we went into depth a little bit about the new constitutional amendment for the state of Montana and talked about each of the individual people that are running for the different parts of our government,” said Butte Central Senior Trevor Phillips.

Many of the students said they never followed politics that closely, but they feel more empowered today.

“I think it’s cool to get the young community inside the government space, like, trying to like make a change of anything inside, you know,” said senior Logan Dubois.

Their teacher hopes this lesson will stick with her students into their adult life.

“I think they’re thrilled by it and I hope that it sets them up for a life of civic engagement, whatever that looks like for them, whether it’s running for office, whether it’s working the precincts and the polls at some point,” said Hibbard.