Colorado educator walks, walks, walks and…walks to win on Election Day


Article and all photos courtesy of the Colorado Education Association.

She began walking for candidates and causes with her mom when just a child. She is still walking.

Eliza Hamrick, Overland High School social studies teacher, does not just teach about history, politics, and civic responsibility. She lives it by going door-to-door in Arapahoe County as an Association volunteer, talking with voters about her favorite candidates for the Legislature. We caught Eliza, a Cherry Creek Education Association member, on a September Saturday, as she was preparing for another dozen blocks of walking and talking to voters.

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What is this election about for you, personally and professionally?

This election is about my students and quality public education, and it’s about teachers having a voice that is heard and respected. This is both personal and professional for me.

What motivates you to volunteer and get other members to join you?

This election is a tipping point. I believe we will be heard about the issues we care about if we talk to the voters. When CCEA members go with me, they see that speaking up makes a difference to the voters. They see that the majority of people we meet are friendly and respectful.

Eliza (second from left) with Sonja Walker (left); candidates John Buckner (HD 40) and Nancy Todd (SD 28) in the center; Todd’s husband Terry, a retired educator; and Chris Kennedy (right). Walker teaches Spanish and French at Smoky Hill High School; Kennedy is a third grade teacher at High Plains Elementary School. Both are CCEA members and Election 2012 volunteers.

What do you hear from the candidates you’re helping?

They’re so grateful for our help. They know our lives are busy and they thank us for showing up, and they always tell us they support public education and they support us.

You grew up volunteering for candidates and causes your family supported. What’s behind your energy and enthusiasm?

I’ve always supported unions. I believe in collective action. I come from a very involved family; my mom walked in Arizona for the United Farmworkers, my dad was a college professor. But I don’t do this just to do the activity. I do it to make a difference, and to get other members to join with me so they will be willing to help in the future for something else – so they’ll see the impact one person has on members of the public, so they’ll see how much their voices matter.

How long will you keep going?

On September 29, I passed 100 hours of walking for our recommended legislative candidates. I’ll keep going until Election Day. Come out and walk with me!

Eliza Hamrick holds a B.A. from the University of Arizona and a Master’s from Adams State. She has been teaching at Overland High School since 1986. Besides teaching AP History, Eliza teaches government, law, world religions, contemporary issues, law, and more. She has consulted for the Library of Congress, Deliberating Democracy in Estonia, Colorado Digitization Project, and the Center for Education, Law and Democracy. Eliza is Cherry Creek EA Vice President this year. She is the sixth Eliza Singleton in her family, dating back to early South Carolina when her direct descendant John Rutledge signed the Constitution and his brother Edward signed the Declaration of Independence. Eliza’s daughter Eliza (VII) attends UNC and is working toward a teaching degree.

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