Why I Vote: Giving voices to teachers in the Big Bend, South Georgia

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 17:16:44-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As we head into the election, ABC 27 is talking to people in our communities about what's sending them to the polls this November. With one day to go before the election, we're hearing from teachers in Why I Vote.

"Telling people what I want," said Patrick Pratt.

"Healthcare," Gayla Sanders said.

"Equal rights," said Kaya Lawrence.

"To have a say in my government," said Susan Kelley.

Four teachers in the Big Bend area have done a lot of homework before this election, on who and what they're voting for.

"The best way for my voice to be heard is to vote," Pratt said.

Pratt is an English Teacher at Leon High School.

"It's really important for me to be able to sift through and see what's real," said Pratt.

He's researching candidates and issues that will be on his ballot.

"At this time, I'm fully in the belief that a lot of the educators in the nation are tired and under a lot of stress," Pratt said.

That stress is, in part, due to the pandemic. Something that's challenged all these educators.

"In the beginning, it was really hard," said Kelly.

Kelly teaches ninth-grade English at Rickards Hig School.

For her, teacher pay is a big concern.

"We normally are at the bottom pay-wise," Kelly said. "I feel like we've all been forgotten."

Their career is a big issue for all of them.

"Education is number one," said Lawrence.

Lawrence teaches first grade at Havana Magnet School. For her, issues extend beyond the classroom.

"All lives matter, and it's time for a change," Lawrence said.

Referring to the push for racial equality across the nation. For her, it's about equal rights.

"And if you think it's time for a change, then you've got to get out and vote," said Lawrence.

Something she and Gayla Sanders both plan on doing.

"I take voting very seriously," Sanders said.

Sanders teaches Yoga and Gymnastics at Chiles.

"I know that my relatives and people before me have laid down their lives and died for me to have this opportunity to vote," said Sanders.

She's been a teacher for 29 years and voting since the age of 18.

"Is that something that I'm going to be able to afford," Sanders said. "Am I going to be able to afford to not work?"

In this election, these educators plan to make their voices heard, not only for themselves but for the future of their students.

"I feel like it is my obligation," said Sanders.

"Our life depends on it," Lawrence said.

"Make things better for everyone," said Kelly.

"I definitely am planning on being there," Pratt said..

Another one of the big issues influencing their vote is whether or not they'll be able to afford to retire.

You can find all the groups we interviewed for this series, including small business owners, seniors, veterans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community under the Election 2020 tab of our web site.