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Governor's Civic Engagement Award

Governor's Civic Engagement Award

About the Award

The Governor’s Civic Engagement Award is presented by the Pennsylvania Departments of State and Education. The award celebrates the efforts of Pennsylvania high school students to educate, engage and inform their fellow students about how to get involved in the voting process.

Governor's Civic Engagement Award

Award Distinctions

85% gold seal 

Gold Level School Award

This award is presented to schools where 85% of eligible students are registered to vote.

Student ambassadors and the school will receive a plaque and certificates from the Secretary of State at a regional recognition event.

65% silver seal 

Silver Level School Award

This award is presented to schools where 65% of eligible students are registered to vote.

Student ambassadors and the school will receive a plaque and certificates from the Secretary of State at a regional recognition event.

Blue individual seal 

Student Poll Worker Award

This award is presented to students who participate in a voter registration at their school and serve as a poll worker during the general election.

Individual award recipients will receive special recognition at a regional recognition event


  • To be eligible to register to vote, students must be US Citizens and 18 years of age (or 17 years of age and will be 18 on or before the next election).
  • To serve as a poll worker, students must be 17 years of age and obtain permission from their principal and parent/guardian to serve as a poll worker.

New This Year: Student Showcase!

Regardless of the number of students registered at your school, the Department of State would like to celebrate your efforts to register students to vote, recruit student poll workers, and get students interested in voting and elections. 

Tell us about the fun, creative, and engaging activities you planned! We are interested in learning and sharing about creative approaches to voter registration and poll worker recruitment. For example:

  • Did you incorporate lessons about the history of voting rights into your voter registration efforts?
  • Did you engage with a student club, student government body or athletic team to help promote voter registration or recruit student poll workers?
  • Did you incorporate students' creative and artistic talents to help boost your drive's visibility?
  • Did you partner with outside organizations to leverage their knowledge and experience?
  • Did you effectively employ technology to streamline your efforts?
  • Did you come up with a particularly effective way to track and tabulate voter registration numbers?
  • Did you work with county election officials to coordinate your efforts?

The deadline for student showcase submissions is April 1, 2021. Submit your information using the online student showcase submission form.

Please note that in order for the Department of State to use photo, video or audio of students, we need a signed media consent form from each student (signed by a parent or guardian, unless the student is 18). Download a media consent form.

How do schools earn a Gold or Silver award?

  1. Sign up with the PA Department of State.
    We are asking all schools to complete the online registration form if you know that you will hold a registration drive at your school. This way, we can send you important updates about the awards program, and election in general.
  2. Run Your Voter Registration Drive
    Plan and execute a voter registration drive at your school. Make a plan to count the number of registrations collected and calculate the percent of eligible students registered at your school.
  3. Submit your application for the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award.
    At the conclusion of your voter registration drive, submit your application for the Governor’s Civic Engagement Award using our online form. The deadline for applications is May 5, 2021.

Are there resources available to help plan a voter registration drive?

PA Department of State Resources

  • You can use this Quick Guide to get started. The guide covers the basics of what you need to run a high school voter registration drive. 
  • The PA Department of State provides pledge cards to help track registrations. You can download and print the pledge cards, or you can request paper cards from the Department of State using a request form
  • If you need paper voter registration applications, request them from the Department of State using a request form
  • Educators may use the Department of State's voter registration curriculum to integrate the Governor's Civic Engagement Award into classroom activities. The curriculum is also available on the PA Department of Education'sStandards Aligned System

Outside Resources

  • You might consider partnering with a nonpartisan organization to help train students and track registrations.  
  • In August 2020, the Department of State hosted a GCEA kickoff webinar that featured presentations from local and national civics education organizations. Read about the resources they shared in this blog post
  • Three schools have earned the GCEA Gold Award three years in a row. Read about the secrets to their success in this blog post written by educators at those schools. 
  • Philly Youth Vote provides voter registration resources for Philadelphia schools, including several lesson plans, which you can adapt or use as inspiration for youth voter registration efforts at your school. 

How do I calculate the % of eligible students?

The school awards are calculated using the number of students who will be eligible to vote in the spring Pennsylvania primary election.

When calculating the number of eligible students, you may either use the number of students in the senior class as a proxy for the total number of eligible students, or tabulate the number of students who will be eligible to vote on or before the day of the spring primary election (May 18, 2021).

How can I involve students who may not be eligible to vote?

Students who are not eligible to vote in the  Pennsylvania primary election can still help organize and run voter registration drives and submit their work to the Student Showcase. They can also help educate their peers about the electoral process. The Department of State also offers The Department of State also offers pledge cards that students can complete to say that they pledge to vote once they are eligible.

How do students earn the Student Poll Worker Award?

  1. Contact your county election office.
    Contact information is at Ask the county election office if they employ high school students as poll workers. If they do, submit the necessary information and application materials to the county.
  2. Work as a poll worker on election day!
    In order to qualify for the award, you must serve as a poll worker on behalf of your county at a polling place in the November 2020 election.
  3. Educators and county officials submit nomination forms.
    Nominations may be submitted by high school educators and county election officials. This year, all nominations must be submitted using our online formPlease note that we request a photo of the student and a signed consent form allowing us to share the student’s name and image publicly. This will allow us to recognize the student in the press and on our website and social media accounts.

Recognition Events

We will hold recognition events at the conclusion of the schoolyear to celebrate award winners and highlight Student Showcase submissions. If you have registered your school using the online registration form, we will send you information regarding the dates, times and locations of the recognition events. 


If you have questions, contact the Pennsylvania Department of State at 717-787-5280 or


2019-2020 Winners:

Level AwardSchool NameCounty% Registered
GoldFriends Select SchoolPhiladelphia100%
GoldMurrell Dobbins CTE High SchoolPhiladelphia96.80%
GoldSouth Williamsport Area High SchoolLycoming95%
GoldArts Academy at Benjamin RushPhiladelphia94%
GoldCranberry Area Junior/Senior High SchoolVenango91%
GoldConrad Weiser high School Berks90%
GoldBrentwood High SchoolAllegheny90%
GoldCentral High SchoolPhiladelphia89.61%
GoldMt. Pleasant Area Junior/Senior High SchoolWestmoreland89%
GoldFort LeBoeuf High SchoolErie89%
GoldParkway Northwest High School For Peace and Social JusticePhiladelphia88%
GoldBuilding 21 AllentownLehigh88%
GoldAIM AcademyMontgomery88%
GoldSharpsville Area High SchoolMercer87%
GoldHaverford High SchoolDelaware87.23
GoldBrockway Area Junior/Senior High SchoolJefferson; Elk87.14%
GoldGirard Academic Music ProgramPhiladelphia86.90%
GoldGreenville Junior/Senior High SchoolMercer86.70%
GoldUnion Area High SchoolLawrence86%
GoldCarlisle High SchoolCumberland86%
GoldNorthwest Area Junior/Senior High SchoolLuzerne85%
GoldLeechburg Middle/Senior High School Armstrong86%
GoldFannett-Metal High SchoolFranklin85%
GoldThe Academy of Notre Dame de NamurDelaware85%
GoldWyoming Valley West High SchoolLuzerne85.30%
SilverDeer Lakes High SchoolAllegheny73%
SilverMorrisville High SchoolBucks73%
SilverBodine High School for International AffairsPhiladelphia70.87%
SilverFranklin Regional High SchoolWestmoreland70%
SilverConestoga High SchoolChester69%
SilverNorth East High SchoolErie69%
SilverElizabeth Forward High SchoolAllegheny68%
SilverBoiling Springs High SchoolCumberland68%
SilverDowningtown STEM AcademyChester67%
SilverPA Virtual Charter SchoolStatewide66.80%
SilverMoravian AcademyLehigh67%
SilverDallas High SchoolLuzerne67%
SilverKiski Area High SchoolWestmoreland; Armstrong66.70%
SilverWestmont Hilltop Junior/Senior High SchoolCambria66.35%
SilverTrinity High SchoolWashington66.04%
SilverGarden Spot High SchoolLancaster66%
SilverCity Charter High SchoolAllegheny65.70%
SilverElmer L. Meyers Jr Sr High SchoolLuzerne65%

Previous Year Winners:

2018-2019 School Year
Level Award School County % Registered
SilverAlbert Gallatin Area High SchoolFayette County70
GoldBoiling Springs High SchoolCumberland County94
GoldBuilding 21 AllentownLehigh County86
SilverCanon-McMillan High School Washington County68
GoldCarlisle High SchoolCumberland County91
GoldCentral High SchoolPhiladelphia88.5
GoldConrad Weiser High SchoolBerks County92
SilverFriends Select SchoolPhiladelphia 68
GoldHaverford High SchoolDelaware County87
GoldJ.R. Masterman SchoolPhiladelphia  94
GoldKiski Area High SchoolWestmoreland County85
GoldMiddletown Area High SchoolDauphin County87
SilverMontrose Area Junior/Senior High School Susquehanna County80
SilverMorrisville High School Bucks County70
GoldMurrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High SchoolPhiladelphia 85
GoldNorthwest Area Junior/Senior High School Luzerne County100
GoldPurchase Line High SchoolIndiana County92
SilverRed Lion Area Senior High SchoolYork County75
SilverSouth Fayette High SchoolAllegheny County69
GoldSouth Williamsport Area High SchoolLycoming County86
SilverTrinity High School Washington County71
SilverWilliam W. Bodine High School for International AffairsPhiladelphia 74
GoldWyoming Valley West High SchoolLuzerne County87


2017-2018 School Year
Level Award School County % Registered
Gold Blue Ridge High School Susquehanna County89%
Gold Canon-McMillan High SchoolWashington County 99%
Gold  Carlisle High School Cumberland County 85%
Gold Conestoga High SchoolChester County86%
Gold  Derry Area High School Westmoreland County 88%
Gold Fox Chapel Area High SchoolAllegheny County85%
Gold Governor Mifflin High SchoolBerks County 87%
Gold Middletown Area High SchoolDauphin County86%
Gold Mt. Pleasant Area High SchoolWestmoreland91%
Gold  Northwest Area High School Luzerne County 95%
Gold  Purchase Line High School  Indiana and Clearfield Counties92%
Gold  Seneca Valley High School Butler County93%
GoldState College Area School District Delta ProgramCentre County93%
GoldThe Episcopal AcademyDelaware County 97%
Gold Wyoming Valley West High SchoolLuzerne County 87%
Silver University Prep Pittsburgh 67%




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