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Education

Two local high schools win civic engagement awards for voter registration efforts

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Carlisle Area School District

Pictured is the entryway to Carlisle High School on West Penn Street.

Boiling Springs High School has received a gold level Governor’s Civic Engagement Award for registering to vote at least 85% of its eligible students.

Seniors Brenna Haggerty, Aiden Johnston-Walsh and Jack O’Brien organized and implemented this year’s senior class drive to register students who are either 18 years old or will turn 18 on or before the date of the next primary, special, municipal or general election.

Part of the South Middleton School District, Boiling Springs High School is one of 12 schools across Pennsylvania to earn a gold level award for 2020-2021.

Carlisle High School is one of 15 schools this year to earn a silver level engagement award for registering to vote between 65% and 84% of their eligible students.

“Congratulations to the schools who won this prestigious award,” acting Secretary of State Veronica W. Degraffenreid said in a news release.

“This year’s winners deserve extra credit for conducting their civic engagement efforts during a pandemic when many schools were operating virtually,” she added. “Through their focus and passion, they demonstrated that nothing can interrupt the democratic process in our commonwealth.”

Now in its fourth year, the GCEA program encourages Pennsylvania high school students to participate in elections by voting, organizing voter registration drives and volunteering as poll workers. Individual awards are also given out to students active in the program.

In 2019-2020, the two local high schools were in reverse, with Carlisle earning the gold level award and Boiling Springs earning a silver award. The year before, 2018-2019, both schools had earned the gold level award.

“Intentional dialogues allow for Pennsylvania students to pose questions and play a role in developing solutions aimed at creating positive change in their communities,” acting Secretary of Education Noe Ortega said. “I applaud our high school students for promoting and encouraging their peers on the importance of civic engagement in their communities.”

The 2020-2021 awards were presented during a recent virtual ceremony.

Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.

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