Maria Pope and Robert Morgan both dream of making a positive difference and mobilizing meaningful change in their community. The two Bryan High School student council members got their chance during the recent runoff election for City of Bryan's Single Member District Two City Council seat.
Morgan is a junior and serves as Bryan High School student council vice president. When he heard about the opportunity to assist with Bryan elections, he didn't hesitate.
"We got an email from our student council sponsor about this opportunity to learn on the job," said Morgan. "It was a tie to elections. As student council members, we work school elections all the time. It was a great opportunity to gain real-world experience."
Together with Pope, who is junior class president, Morgan volunteered to spend the day assisting with voting at Bryan City Hall. From confirming voter registration to informing voters on how to use the voting booths, the students were able to experience the behind-the-scenes work that goes into an election. While Morgan was most surprised by the type of new-age technology used in elections, Pope was moved by the many services provided to voters.
"I've never seen this side of voting, the side that gives disabled people the opportunity to vote," said Pope. "It's a different side of voting - curb side voting for the elderly, helping amputees vote and even making sure military personnel who are serving overseas have the opportunity to vote in local elections. We are giving all people the freedom to vote, and that is something people all over the world are still fighting for."
Morgan and Pope have big plans after high school, including college, travel, and volunteering. Experiences, such as this election, set the stage of future possibilities.
"I want to do mission work, possibly with a non-profit or even working in international policy," said Pope. "I want to feel like I'm doing something for others, and helping people to vote was the coolest part of this election experience. I want to feel like I'm making a difference, and I did."
Pope and Morgan assisted with ensuring the runoff election's 342 votes were cast.
"Maria and Robert are just two examples of the wonderful students we have in Bryan ISD," said Mary Lynne Stratta, City of Bryan Secretary and Director of Legislative Services. "I was thrilled they were able to spend Election Day with the other election officials and gain hands-on experience in the conduct of elections in Texas. They quickly learned the technology we use and were excellent election workers. I hope they will consider working future elections in Bryan."
Both students expressed interest in assisting Bryan with elections in the future.
"This feels like you're doing a service to the community," said Morgan.
Release courtesy of the City of Bryan
(top) Maria Pope
(bottom) Robert Morgan