Paxen Learning students prepare to vote for first time - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Paxen Learning students prepare to vote for first time

Students will vote for the first time ever on Tuesday. (Source: WALB) Students will vote for the first time ever on Tuesday. (Source: WALB)
Students have spent months following the election and studying the candidates. (Source: WALB) Students have spent months following the election and studying the candidates. (Source: WALB)
Jameshia Gardener (Source: WALB) Jameshia Gardener (Source: WALB)
Ann Milton (Source: WALB) Ann Milton (Source: WALB)
Jalisa Gardener (Source: WALB) Jalisa Gardener (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Many people have already participated in early voting, but for some this election will be memorable.

"I'm very excited. I've been registered to vote, but I never did it," said 25-year-old Jameshia Gardener.

Gardener says she's already made her mind up on who's she voting for, but going to the polls was never a part of her plans.

"I wasn't paying no mind, but being in this class, I wouldn't say they made us, but we had talked a lot about it, and they took us down there so it got me wanting to do it," she said.

On Tuesday, she will be one of more than a dozen students from Paxen Learning voting for the very first time. The center provides accelerated GED programs for young adults to gain their GED within 35 days. Gardener earned hers in 24.

Her classmate Jalisa McKinney is just one test away from earning hers. It's a milestone she's excited to reach to be an example for her son.

"I don't want him to be asking, 'mom, do you have, did you graduate?' and I don't want to tell him, 'no I didn't graduate.'"

One of the classes students have to pass to graduate is social studies. The students have spent several months learning the election process and studying government. It was after a visit to the elections office when instructors saw a change in the students.

"Some of them thought their vote didn't count, that it was just a waste of time, and after the instruction from our GED instructor, they learned that my vote does count and its part of my civic duty to vote in every election that's available," said Ann Milton, program manager for Paxen Learning.

That's a lesson that extends far beyond the classroom for Gardener.

"It matters, so our vote matters, and if we don't vote, it's still going to count against someone, so you might as well vote," Gardener said.

The students will walk to the government center at 10 a.m. Milton is asking for the community to come out and support the students.

For more on Paxen Learning, visit their website.

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