Hosemann visits Starkville to ‘Promote the Vote’

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited Overstreet Elementary School for Promote the Vote. Hosemann talked to students about politics and Mississippi history, among other topics related to voting. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited Overstreet Elementary School for Promote the Vote where he discussed politics, voting and Mississippi history and where it is projected for the future.

This year's Promote the Vote theme is Mississippi's Bicentennial Birthday. The program includes an art and essay contest with submissions due Dec. 1.

The Promote the Vote program is open to all students and teachers in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Participation is also available to private, parochial and home school associations.

Within the program, there are two categories for the Promote the Vote contest. One is a visual arts category featuring an illustration called "My Mississippi." Students are encouraged to identify what affects them the most in their region of the state.

There is also an writing category titled "Moving Forward" where students will write an essay identifying what he or she considers to be one of the most important future issues facing the region they live in today. In the essay students are asked to describe the issue and their proposal for how citizens and elected officials should address the issue.

The winners of the essay and art contest from specific age categories will receive $100 with another $100 awarded to the winner's school.

Hosemann said his office chose these particular prompts because he didn't want to "shrink their ability to think outside and cognitive about what they want Mississippi to be."

"We are just simply placeholders for the future," Hosemann said. "This is the future here."

Hosemann said his office has been doing Promote the Vote for 25 years and because it is the bicentennial year, they wrote the book and gave it to the students. In the book, it describes some of Mississippi's history along with its current and future accomplishments.

Along with the presentation of Mississippi's history, Hosemann emphasized the importance of interacting with the youth in the community and becoming an active citizen and voter.

He said every resident has the right to go cast their ballot and determine the direction the state, county or city is going.

"I wanted them to look at their history and start to realize that their future is at the ballot box," Hosemann said. "I wanted to tie those two together. Your history is your history, your future is your vote."

Principal of Overstreet Elementary Timothy Bourne says having elected officials make appearances in the classrooms brings importance to voting within itself and provides an opportunity for students to see the political process.

"Students can actually touch, feel and interact with the people that they put in office," Bourne said. "Not only that but ask questions of them of how they are serving them."

Bourne said he is excited to have the students at Overstreet participate in this contest. He said it allows students to express themselves in an artistic and thoughtful manner and is anxious to see what they come up with.

"They give you honesty and some insight that you may not have ever looked at this particular issue from this particular angle," Bourne said. "Not only that but kind of put a vision on paper on where they want to see Mississippi go, what do they see in its future."