Iowa caucus, history day, Urban Growler event


Como Park Senior High School

By Eric


Social studies teacher


Como’s AP Government students witnessed democracy in action at the Iowa Caucus on February 3. (Photo submitted)[/caption]

Forty AP Government students witnessed democracy in action at the Iowa Caucus on Feb. 3. The whirlwind political activity included a chartered bus ride past the Iowa border and into Cerro Gordo County. After a brief stop and walk in Clear Lake, the field trip reached its destination of Mason City.

Following dinner at The Pizza Ranch, we headed to the Republican Caucus site. A meeting was scheduled with the Republican County Chairperson to learn about Republican Caucus procedures and to ask student-generated questions. After another Republican speaker, and observation of caucus-goers filing in, we hopped on the bus to arrive for the beginning of the Democrat Party Caucus. Iowa Democrats use the unique procedure of standing together for their preferred candidate, and being completely public about their support. Then there’s reallocation for candidates who didn’t earn 15% of the vote. While complicated, it’s a vivid example of voting and political participation.

Student observations ranged from “it’s interesting to see the process for picking the president,” to “it’s way smaller and simpler than what I imagined,” and “there’s a lot of old people.”

Several students had never been to Iowa before, and were surprised to see such rural landscape and a lack of ethnic diversity. After about five hours of being on the ground in Iowa and interacting with its people, our bus headed north up Interstate 35, arriving back at Como by 11 p.m.

The goal in bringing students to the Iowa Caucus is to create a connection to the electoral process and inspire poltical participation going forward. Plus it’s a unique and fun memory. As a teacher, they may not remember my lessons about nominations and campaigns or our reading about separation of powers in Federalist #51, but they’ll never forget the Iowa Caucus – and how decisions are made by those who show up.

About half the AP Government students will be able to vote in their first presidential primary on March 3. Another 20 will be serving as Ramsey County Election Judges. Hopefully an evening in Iowa can help lead to a lifetime of political participation.

History Day at Como featured the research and final products of 11th grade U.S. History students, and any student who desired to produce a history project in addition to their existing coursework. Students advancing to St. Paul regional competition include the following:

Individual Documentary – Wim Lenkeit for The Fall of the Berlin Wall. Alisaed Ali for Redoshi: Last Survivor of the Middle Passage. Kashia Vang for Loving v. Virginia.

Group Website – Sara Capone and MaiKou Her for The European Union. Hay Blute Paw, Htoo Baw and Dissel Moo for Genghis Khan. Lah Say Wah Hser, Naw Mu, Sumayo Yusuf for Edward Jenner’s Small Pox Vaccine. Johntae Hudson and Jahrese Adeagbo for Elijah Mohamed and the Nation of Islam.

Individual Website - Antonin Sequot for the Japanes Military Unit 731. Cerenity Khang for The 19th Amendment.

Individual Performance – Olivia Miller for Jim Henson and The Muppets.

Save the date! The annual Como Park Booster Club fundraiser at the Urban Growler will be held on March 22 from 3-7 p.m. For questions or ticket information, email


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