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Schools praised for 100% voter registration
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Boyd Christian principal Donna Newby accepts the Anne Dallas Dudley Gold Level Award from Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett on Wednesday. - photo by Luke Cameron

Boyd Christian School and Covenant Academy each were presented with the Anne Dallas Dudley Gold Level Award on Wednesday by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Miss Tennessee Tally Bevis. 

The award honors schools that get 100% of their senior students, and also those who will turn 18 by the next election, registered to vote. Boyd Christian with 12 seniors and Covenant Academy with nine accomplished the feat. They are two of only 18 schools in the state to do so.

The award is named after Anne Dallas Dudley, a Tennessee suffragist who was instrumental in securing the state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment and thus was the decisive state in making the amendment law. 

The United States consisted of only 48 states in 1920, and three-quarters of states have to ratify an amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. The 19th Amendment passed Congress on June 4, 1819, and was ratified by Tennessee on Aug. 18, 1920.

Warren County election administrator Susie Davenport was proud to witness the fruits of her voter registration labors on Wednesday, and she was complimentary of all those who played a role in the accomplishment. 

Davenport praised voter registration contacts at local schools, including Shelley Rhoton at Boyd, Tina Lassiter at Covenant, and Kevin Dunlap at WCHS.

Miss Tennessee Tally Bevis, in her address to the assembled students at Boyd, spoke on the importance of voting. “Specifically to the seniors, I want to encourage you to go through with it. You have started the process, you’re registered to vote. But it’s so much more important that you actually show up and you have to build the habit now,” she said.

Hargett echoed those sentiments in his remarks. “We’re going to have elections this August and November,” Hargett said. “We’re going to elect people whether you participate or not. So you are better off participating, because they are not going to wait on you. You’re better off participating because you make your voice heard. Please get out and exercise your right to vote.”

Lassiter worked to get the nine graduating students at Covenant registered to vote. She said she did not have to twist students’ arms too much to get the voter registration done. 

“I had to track down a few of them in the end to get it completed. I had to bring them to my office,” said Lassiter. “I really didn’t have to encourage them a whole lot. They were ready.”