Texas student, first-time voter: ‘This was important to us.’

About 25 Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School students weren’t in their classrooms when the bell rang at 8:20 a.m. Friday. Instead, they were taking social studies to the streets.

It wasn’t a walk out, said the students. It was a “walk to” the nearby early voting site to cast their first ballots.

So shortly after 8:20 a.m., they walked to the Diamond Hill Public Library. The atmosphere was similar to school parade or a mini pep rally as they moved past political signs, reporters and even some candidates.

Most in the group were 18. A handful of younger friends marched for moral support. (They waited outside the polling site for their friends to vote.) Everyone was all smiles.

“I felt it was important,” said Deon Ross, 18. “I feel like now I can have an effect on my community. This was important to us.”

Students at several other high schools in Fort Worth planned similar walks to the polls Friday, which was designated Student Voting Day in Texas. Students from Dunbar and South Hills high schools also voted early, said Jacinto Ramos, Jr., a Fort Worth school board trustee who walked to the polls with the students.

Jeno Mack 18, president of the My Brother’s Keeper organization at Diamond Hill, said he felt good about words of support he received along the way to the poll.

“I like the encouragement,” Mack said. “I like for young people to go change the community.”

“In there, every single body is the same,” Texas State Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, told the students as he pointed to the polling site.

Romero said among the first-time voters were athletes, scholars and student leaders who want to build representation for their communities.

“It’s what America is all about,” Romero said.

Roxanne Martinez, a self-described booster club mother, said the walk was the students’ idea. Adults and teachers helped organize the event and make sure they followed school and voting rules. In the end, Martinez said she couldn’t helped being touched by the first-time voters.

“My heart is beaming with pride,” Martinez said.

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