Superstars encourage Connecticut students to Smackdown Your Vote!
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Central High School seniors and juniors gathered this week to hear an important message from Kofi Kingston, Beth Phoenix and Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz -- it's time to Smackdown Your Vote! (PHOTOS | WATCH)
"On behalf of WWE, we want to get that message out there and let you know to not be afraid to be pioneers and leaders in your age group and in your community and get out there and vote," The Glamazon said, offering a personal story to the students in attendance.
"My mother was a Polish immigrant. She came to this country and had to work very, very hard to get citizenship in order to have the right to vote," Phoenix continued. "She really spoke to me and said that as a part of your love for this country it's very important to get out there and show that you want to have a say in what's going on in your community."
Since turning 18, the Diva has been casting her vote in elections. And while Kingston is known as WWE's Jamaican Superstar, he, too, is a voting American citizen.
"You have a chance to be heard. You have a chance to make a difference. You have a chance to make an impact on society. Think about the people who sacrificed for you to be able to vote," Kingston said. "People went out and fought and they died for democracy. The least that we can do is make sure their efforts weren't in vain. So get out there and vote!"
With the help of Connecticut Secretary of State Bysiewicz, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and the City of Bridgeport Registrar of Voters, 59 Central High School students registered to vote Monday.
"I have traveled around the state, registering kids to vote and we always do well, but I do know we always do better when we have the WWE Superstars helping to get the kids engaged. It's kind of like the Beatles coming in 1964!" Bysiewicz said.
Mayor Finch said WWE has continued to have a successful partnership with the city, the Registrar of Voters and Central High School to promote voting in Bridgeport.
"The students respond. We have kids who never thought about registering to vote come here and for the first time, there's a connection made between somebody they relate to, they admire, they see on television and all of sudden, it becomes real for them," Mayor Finch said.
While many Central High students were excited to see Raw that night at Bridgeport's Arena at Harbor Yard, they were equally eager to register to vote after listening to the Superstars.
"It was really exhilarating, especially to see the Superstars and Mayor Finch here, as well," said Claude Harrison Jr., 18. "Now I'm ready to vote and get out there."
After the Smackdown Your Vote! rally, Phoenix and Kingston told WWE.com they were pleased with the students' enthusiasm and response to WWE's efforts.
"It's really cool because this entire campaign we've been doing for nine years now with WWE is all about making a difference. I feel like today with the students that did register to vote, with us coming out here to Central High School, it did make a difference," The Glamazon said.
"It wasn't so long ago that we were sitting in auditoriums watching people, having them encourage us to vote, to go out and do things," Kingston continued. "Now we're in the place where we can kind of give back. To hear that we impacted somebody's decision and influenced them to vote, that feels pretty good."