Election Day in Syracuse drew many members of the community to Nottingham High School early in the morning. One such teacher talks about what she is doing inside and outside the classroom to make an impact.(c) 2021 Ryan Nelson

City of Syracuse

Teacher Informs Her Students The Impact Of Voting

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REPORTER: Patricia Mulaney is a high school history teacher in Baldwinsville. She was one of the first people to vote at Nottingham this morning. Mulaney says, in the classroom, she tries to teach the values of learning the past to impact your vote on the future. 

PATRICIA MULANEY: “Yes, we’re gonna talk about history and that’s over with and it’s done with. But, you can play around, you can mess with your ideas with these guys and you can test where you care about issues and topics safely because in the real world, I really want you to be confident in your choices.”

REPORTER: Even though she is not a teacher here at Nottingham High School, she still believes that teaching can go beyond the classroom. 

MULANEY: “Just with honesty. Right. If a kid asks you a question, you tell them what you know and you admit what you don’t. High school students seem to appreciate that, and I think my five-year-old does too.”

REPORTER: In a local election like this year, turnout is usually lower, but Mulaney says these years might be even more important than others. 

MULANEY: “I said, this is the most direct democracy you’re going to get. If you want to have a say, you don’t want to send a letter to the president or send a letter to your representative, you want to send your letter to your mayor. If you want to get things done, that’s where it starts and you can see more impact here than anywhere else.”

REPORTER: Reporting from Nottingham High School, Ryan Nelson

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (DiA) – The saying goes, “The early bird gets the worm.” On Election Day, those who flock to the polls could be anyone in the community, even your own teacher.

Patricia Mullaney, a high school history teacher in Baldwinsville, was one of the first people to vote at Nottingham High School this morning.

In the classroom, she tries to teach the value of learning about the past in order to impact her students’ vote on the future.

“We’re going to talk about history that’s over with and done with, but [students] can play around,” Mullaney said. “They can test where they care about issues and topics safely because in the real world, I really want [the students] to be confident in their choices.”

Mullaney believes teaching moments stretch far beyond the classroom. She says she can best teach her students, daughters, or anyone about history and government with honesty.

“If a kid asks a question, you tell them what you know and you admit what you don’t,” she said. “High school students seem to appreciate that and I think my 5 year old does too,”

In a local election year, like this one, voter turnout is usually lower. Mulaney thinks these years might be even more important than others.

“This is the most direct democracy you’re going to get. […] If you want to get things done, this is where it starts, and you can see more impact here than anywhere else,” Mullaney said.

While the Syracuse mayoral election may be the biggest ticket item on the ballot, there are many other pieces to vote on as well.

Polls close at 9 p.m. tonight.

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