Girard High School sophomore Rylee Hamblin was visibly excited after she dropped her paper ballot into the blue metal lockbox just inside the school’s front entrance Thursday morning.

Girard High School sophomore Rylee Hamblin was visibly excited after she dropped her paper ballot into the blue metal lockbox just inside the school’s front entrance Thursday morning.

Hamblin, along with most of the other high school students, was participating in Kids Vote in Kansas, a program designed to familiarize students with the voting process. Students in lower grades vote in class.

For Hamblin, the chance to vote is a long time coming.

“I’m in debate, and we’re into politics,” Hamblin beamed, adding that the elections had been the recent focus of the debate students. “I love that stuff.”

Girard, along with other area schools, is working with Greenbush on the project. The results of the elections will be published sometime next week, said Lisa Schossow, of the Greenbush prevention and wellness department.

“It also helps us determine the number of kids that voted and how excited they about getting to vote,” Schossow said. “Then they can take their  ballot home after we tally them, and discuss it with their parents before they vote.”

Government teacher Jeremiah Hudson said he’s seen a lot of enthuiasm about the process from his students.

“There’s been a pretty good response,” Hudson said, adding that his senior students spend time researching the candidates as part of their classwork. “And we’ll answer a lot of questions over the next week. The seniors are starting to realize the importance of it...I’m surprised at how important they take this.”

Hudson said the school will lend a helping hand to students who will be 18 by election day.

“We’re offering them rides to the polling stations on Tuesday,” Hudson said.

For Hamblin, waiting a few more years to be eligible to vote is too long.

“I wish they’d lower the voting age, ‘cause I like voting,” Hamblin grinned. “It gives me power.”

She said voting was a piece of cake.

“It’s pretty easy,” she continued. “I know who everyone is.”

Senior Samantha Cole was equally worked up. She turns 18 on election day and gets to vote this year.

“That’s exciting,” she said. “And it’s been pretty neat learning about the candidates.”