Proud to vote in my first presidential election

As a senior at Cleveland Heights High School, it is a very important year for me. Fall of senior year is the time when you begin applying for colleges and scholarships; taking the SATs and ACTs, and making sure your grades are up to par, not to mention involvement in school activities. This is the time when I begin making all of the important decisions that will affect my life. However, there is one more thing that will make my senior year all that more important: being able to vote for the first time in the 2008 Presidential Election.

Being able to vote means so much to me. Knowing that my vote can make a difference makes me feel important. In previous years, the elections never really mattered to me. I would know who was running, and I would have brief discussions about them at school and sometimes at home, but that was pretty much it. My mindset shifted once the first of the year rolled around and reality set in:  I would be eighteen years old in November and be able to vote.

Earlier in the year, I would often watch television with my mother and she would switch to CNN. I would be upset because I found it so boring. But, as time progressed, my excitement for the election began to grow. It grew so much that I would find myself going up to my bedroom and turning to CNN, to catch up on any election updates.

My excitement for the election didn’t stay in the privacy of my bedroom: it soon spread to school and work.  I actually helped encourage my “of-age” friends to register. I remember being at work one day and making small talk with a fellow employee. The topic of the election soon came up; I asked him if he was old enough to vote. When he answered “yes” but told me he did not intend to register, I asked why. He replied, “There’s no point in registering because he’s going to win anyway.” I was shocked at his statement and explained to him that we now have the power for our voices to be heard, and that we can not let that privilege be taken away. That Saturday, he went online and registered.

There have been many occasions in my life when it has felt like no one was listening to me, that what I had to say was not important, or that my voice was silent. This election allows me to use my voice in the most powerful way possible, and I know it will be heard. Thank God my birthday is six days before the election!

Gaebrielle Poole is enrolled in Honors and AP classes at Heights High in addition to being president of the school’s Gospel Choir, secretary of Student Council and a member of both the Heights Singers and Heights Acappella Choir.  Involved in a number of other school activities, she also is involved in her church and works at Zagara’s.  Recently crowned Heights High’s 2008 Homecoming Queen, she plans to attend Howard University next fall.

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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 10:56 PM, 09.24.2008