Vail Valley students give census pep talk
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY – When it comes to turning in their census forms, adults here are getting behind.Students at Eagle Valley Middle School want to change that.
Eighth-graders canvassed the Eagle school Thursday morning, urging their classmates to talk to their parents about filling out the census.
Eagle County is lagging behind the nation on census participation, county officials said. So far, Eagle County has a census form return rate of 28 percent – far behind the nation’s 52-percent rate.
Some second-home owners aren’t aware they need to return the form, Kris Valdez, the county’s long range planner said. Census data help determine how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed each year.
Eagle Valley Middle School students are drafting letters to school, state and local officials, spelling out their thoughts on what the money should go toward, if the middle school were to get more funding thanks to the census.
“The kids are realizing that there is a significant amount of money that is distributed every year, based on the numbers reflected in the census,” said Cynthia Sibley, a social studies teacher who tied the census into her lessons on the Constitution.
“I challenged them to think about: if our community was to get a portion of that, what would be the best use of that money?”
Laptops for students are on eighth-grader Devinne Hart’s mind.
Cody Thurston,14, argued the money should go toward healthier options for children who get free and reduced lunches.
Eighth-grader Pedro Almanza said new soccer balls and football helmets top his wishlist.
Students conducted their own census within the school and considered what a complex task it must be to count everyone in the country.
Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.