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Paul Ecke students cast their ballots on Kelly DaSilva Memorial Kids Vote Day

Voting booths were set up in the Paul Ecke library for Kids Vote Day.
(Jody Vakili)

On election day, Paul Ecke Central students participated in the Kelly DaSilva Memorial Kids Vote Day, exercising their rights to vote not on candidates but on important school issues. On a crowded ballot, kids voted on new spirit wear items, new playground equipment, the yearbook theme, a theme for the jogathon, the outfit Principal Wes Sechrest must wear to said jogathon and their favorite winter/holiday song.

Kids Vote Day organizer Jody Vakili and daughter Seena.
Kids Vote Day organizer Jody Vakili and daughter Seena.
(Copyright Jody Vakili)

The official voter booths were set up in the school library and for the first time ever, students cast their votes on iPads. Parent Jody Vakili organized the event with her husband Bardis, who offered a lesson on voting and democracy for all 584 students who came through to vote, class by class. Fifth and sixth graders helped the kindergartners, the youngest first-time voters.

Kids Vote Day is dedicated to the memory of Kelly (Burris) DaSilva, a former Paul Ecke Central parent, PTA president, volunteer and “all-around bright spot” in the Encinitas school’s community. DaSilva tragically passed away in May of last year, leaving behind her two children Logan and Nash, and her husband Jimmy.

Sixth grader Luca Jones helps out a kindergarten voter.
(Jody Vakili)

“Kelly was responsible for bringing Kids Vote Day to Paul Ecke Central and we are happy to carry the torch in her name,” said Vakili. “Kelly was a champion of public education, civil rights, and equality, and she knew very well how important voting and democracy are to preserving these ideals. We’re sure that, wherever she is, Kelly is absolutely tickled to learn that PEC’s Kids Vote Day is a small part of the legacy that she leaves behind.”

Sixth grader Griffen Mills casts his vote.
(Jody Vakili)

This November, students selected beanies as the new spirit wear item and a giant Connect 4 game as the new playground equipment. They elected “Connected” for their yearbook theme and “Sports” for the jogathon theme. Per the kids’ votes, Principal Sechrest must dress as a shark at this year’s jogathon. Students overwhelmingly elected the shark attire with 45.1% of the vote over the costume candidates of a Padres player, rockstar, retro surfer and pirate.

As for the students’ favorite holiday tune: “Jingle Bell Rock” narrowly edged out “Feliz Navidad” and “Jingle Bells” as the top vote-getter.

Bardis Vakili talks to students about democracy and voting before their cast their votes.
(Jody Vakili)


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