JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann honored student and school winners in the 2012 Promote the Vote contests on Friday.
Starkville High School was named the Promote the Vote Model School and Rex Ames of Starkville High received the top individual award.
Hosemann says Promote the Vote is an important part of voter education initiatives because younger voters are more likely to vote when they turn 18 if they are engaged in the process at an early age.
The program is designed to teach the fundamentals of democracy to K-12 students and to encourage civic responsibility.
The program includes a statewide mock election, student competitions, a complete voter education curriculum and special events designed to recognize students and their teachers.
In 2012, the Promote the Vote program had the largest number of students and school districts participanting since its inception in 1996.
More than 540 schools and 211,700 students took part, including almost 100,000 who cast ballots in the online Mock Election for president during the week preceding the November General Election.