Mark Foley, a civics teacher at Urbana High School, was looking for a way to fufill an Illinois Civics Education standard to impart more "real life" civics instruction, so he assigned this project — one that would deepen their knowledge of the political process as well as provide a service to their community.

According to Foley, the students learned a lot from this endeavor. "For many of these students, this is their first real interaction with the wide variety of governmental positions that annually stand for election. So they've had to figure out what the County Executive does, why the Attorney General's office is important, or who is running to be our next Governor. This unit came right after a unit on political ideology, in which students heard from speakers from various political parties, and then located themselves on the political spectrum. So now they have had to figure out how they would actually vote."

He hopes that they will come away from this with a desire to be more active citizens. While they won't all go on to deep dive into politics, he says "we're trying to inspire young people to stand up for what they believe in, and to learn to use the levers of power in the local, state, and national governments to transform our society."

I encourage you to check out what these students have come up with, and share it with others. Foley echoes a refrain that I often have these days: "These students give me a lot of hope for the future."

You can find their voting guide here. It's still a work in progress, so be sure to check back periodically as it develops.