Chaparral fifth grader wins League slogan contest

As he was going about his day as a fifth grader at Chaparral Elementary School, Carlo Rufo received a big surprise.

The school announced over the PA system that Carlo won a contest set up by the Claremont chapter of the League of Women Voters to find the slogan for a voter engagement campaign.

Five minutes later, he was getting recognized and congratulated in the multi-purpose room.

“I was very surprised,” Carlo said. “I just found out.”

Carlo’s slogan—“Voting is your voice”—was selected from 21 entries submitted by elementary students from Sycamore, Sumner Danbury and Chaparral, according to Tressa Kentner, the President of Claremont’s chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Carlo’s slogan was picked by a committee of eight people, including two students from the Claremont Colleges, Ms. Kentner said. She said Carlo’s slogan was picked because it embodies what the League has been advocating for all over the country—getting people to vote.

“Even our advocacy in Sacramento and Washington is focused on voting rights and anti-gerrymandering,” she said. “All those things have to do with your vote being your voice.”

It didn’t hurt that being “short and snappy” caught the judges’ ears. Everyone knows what it means, Ms. Kentner said.

The slogan contest is part of a larger effort by the League to get the younger generations interested in participating in democracy. Voting should be treated as something as important as seatbelt laws, Ms. Kentner said.

“We really want to get young people to be interested in voting, and the younger they start to understand it’s important, the more likely they are to vote,” she said. “All the research shows if you vote at 18, you vote for the rest of your life.”

For Carlo Rufo and his parents, Carl Rufo and Carol Berens, politics is a frequent topic of conversation at the family table, particularly during election seasons.

“I wanted him to grow up informed and not indoctrinated, based on good information,” Mr. Rufo said.

In addition to the recognition, Carlo also received $100 as a grand prize. He decided to enter the contest because it sounded cool, and it took him only five minutes to come up with the slogan.

“He’s the kind of kid that is curious about what’s going on,” Ms. Berens said.

The next step, according to Ms. Kentner, is to use the winning slogan as a template for a video contest for kids from seventh to twelfth grade. Carlo and the winner of the video contest will both be recognized by the city council on June 26.

After that, the League will reserve a spot at the Speakers’ Corner during this year’s Fourth of July festivities, and the main kick-off party for the get-out-the-vote campaign for the fall elections, taking place at the Garner House on August 23.

—Matthew Bramlett

Steven Felschundneff


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