In the end, Republican Donald Trump got the nod for president with 300 votes, compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton's 144 and Libertarian Gary Johnson's 73.

HAVELOCK | Kids just want to have a vote.
And they did Monday at Tucker Creek Middle School in Havelock.
In the end, Republican Donald Trump got the nod for president with 300 votes, compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 144 and Libertarian Gary Johnson’s 73. For governor, incumbent Republican Pat McCrory won with students with 293 votes compared to Democrat Roy Cooper’s 206.
“I don’t like that you have to be 18 to vote, because it’s going to affect us more than it’s going to affect them,” said Dakota Erdly, an eighth-grader who was among students at the school to cast votes for president and governor in a mock election.
“We are not as immature as they think we are,” said Erdly, who served as a poll worker during the mock election. “We are actually maturing quite faster than we thought we would.”
Eighth-grader Yasmin Moro also helped with the election.
“I think is important for people to vote especially if they are kids or adults,” Moro said. “I just wanted to help out.”
Seventh-grader Kaelyn Swanner volunteered at the polls because she wanted to be there in case voters had questions.
“You can’t just vote for something,” said Swanner. “You have to be able to have a reason why and it’s important for younger kids to be able to practice for that because when they get older they won’t have any practice and they won’t be able to know what to do.”
Jania Bond, a seventh-grader, said the election was important because the president who is chosen will be in office for the next four years.
“It affects them as a child whenever they get older. You’re voting for someone who might change laws and like change taxes for the whole entire country,” said Bond. “It’s important for everyone to vote, not just like adults and 18 and older.”
At two tables in the hall away from the voting place were two tables for the major political parties. Zoe Strohmeyer was trying to lure voters over to sell them on the idea of voting for Trump.
“I believe that our country should be independent and be nationalism more and that we should stick together and not go out and be with everybody, and not globalization … just be a nation,” said Strohmeyer.
Catherine Hurst, another Trump supporter at the table, also tried to woo voters.
“It’s just being nice and humble about trying to bring them over to our table, just so they can learn, not persuading them in a rude manner, but just informing them,” said Hurst.
Despite what any of them said, a full-size Donald Trump cutout was getting a lot of attention.
Hillary Clinton supporters just had a poster with candidates’ pictures on it.
Jade Pestana said it was hard at first getting students who were fascinated by the Trump cutout to come by the Democratic Party table.
“In my opinion, they are more aggressive in a way to getting people to come to their table,” Pestana said. “We just kind of let the people come to us, which is probably not the best way to get people to come to our table, but in my opinion that is the best way, to be humble about it.”
Social studies teacher Chadwick Howard helped get the political stuff by calling the local Democratic and Republican party headquarters and asking for whatever they were willing to donate for the mock election.
“The Democrats gave us this big poster here. The Republicans gave us the large Trump cutout which has been quite popular,” Howard said. “I wish we had a Hillary one, but I don’t think they had one at their office. But that has been the popular piece. I hope they don’t break it because it’s a lot of money I’m sure.”
Student Jillian Krysa was on the scene with her camera taking pictures for the yearbook and as a member of the press. She said it is important to inform the people about their choices and about the issues.
“If they weren’t informed, they would not know what was going on,” Krysa said. “Everyone would have their own beliefs, but no one would actually be right about them. They couldn’t make informed decisions if they were improperly informed.”
Michelle Sirmans, a technology specialist with Craven County Schools, was on hand to make sure the voting went smoothly. Sirmans created the ballots and managed the election.
“The kids have been really excited,” said Sirmans. “Plus they have been doing the lessons. They have been doing the history of voting and what the Electoral College is about and so they are getting all the background information as well.”
Media coordinator Heather Montero said the election exposes students to real-world situations.
“They have gained a lot of knowledge on not just one party but all political parties through this experience,” Montero said. “It has been really nice to see how excited they are to have the opportunity to come out and vote.”
Sirmans said the election is a teaching opportunity for the school.
“If we don’t teach the children that it’s their right as a citizen to choose our next public official, they will grow up as apathetic adults,” said Sirmans. “You can’t change anything if you don’t participate. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain and you can’t enforce the change that we need to change.”