Eighteen is the age when you become an adult, when you can vote, when you gain a lot more freedom than you have gotten in the past. You become responsible for a lot more things including some big life decisions and choices. No more having your parents bossing you around. You are now your own boss, making important decisions for yourself.
One of the bigger decisions is you have the opportunity to vote. This can often be overwhelming and overlooked when you are first able to use this opportunity. You might be unprepared or not know what the truth is about candidates, or how to evaluate the accuracy of the media. However, there is one person that helps Potosi High School students prepare for being able to vote and form their own opinions. This woman is Debra Hutchcroft, a social studies teacher at Potosi High School.
When it comes to her own political views, she never shares her own opinions. She does her best to play the devil’s advocate for both sides. Her main goal is for her students to form their own opinions about the issues. Mrs. Hutchcroft wants the students to learn how to find information, think critically about what they hear, read, or see, and become informed citizens to form their own opinions. “I want them to think about what they are saying and not just repeat what is buzzing around in the media.”
Mrs. Hutchcroft has worked at Potosi Schools for 22 years. “For most of my career, I have been the high school social studies teacher … teaching US History, World History, Geography, Government, Psychology, and Sociology. I have also been the DAC (District Assessment Coordinator), Curriculum Coordinator, Dean of Students, and a member of the Administrative Team. I was the Drama Director for many years when I first started teaching, directing around 17 drama and musical productions. I have been a mentor to new teachers. I have been a member of a multitude of committees over the years.” Mrs. Hutchcroft has filled many important roles over the course of her time at Potosi Schools.
Through her time with her students, she has learned to teach them to be prepared for when they are able to vote. First, she has them spend time learning about the voting process and the importance of voting. She brings in copies of past voting ballots so students can see what a ballot looks like and how to fill one out. “During an election year we will use these copies to actually vote as a class and I will tabulate and report the results.” She also teaches them how to register and vote online.