A fictional election offered School No. 9 students a real lesson in how our democracy works.

Students at the school voted on Tuesday for a mascot for the fictional “School 3” in order to help them learn about the electoral process.

“The kids in my class designed the mascot and decided what the mascot is going to do for the school,” said fourth-grade teacher Mitchell Gorbunoff. “So it’s a big, monthlong project where they build a campaign, and they make posters and they take polls of other classes and it all culminates with the election.”

Of course Linden no longer has a “School 3,” so where did that come from?

“Since School 9 already has a mascot, we had to come up with a fictional school that didn’t have a mascot,” Gorbunoff explained.

Students throughout School No. 9 got to choose from among mascot candidates “Gary the Garbage Can,” “Nalla the Narwhale” and “Louie Lion.” They voted on an official voting machine set up in the lobby of the school by the Union County Board of Elections, which sent poll workers to operate and explain the machine at no charge.

The winner was Nalla the Narwhale with 150 votes, followed closely by Louie Lion with 148 votes. Gary the Garbage Can came in a distant third at 55 votes.

inside of voting machine showing three mascot candidates on the ballot  boy preparing to vote inside voting machine

students pose outside voting machine  poll worker explains voting machine to students