Tired of looking out on a sea of bored faces in his civics class, Wayne Kolb decided to make the political process come alive for his students. He is running for president of the United States.
"This is something I've thought about for several years, and finally this year I decided it was time," said Mr. Kolb, a 48-year-old teacher at Doss High School in Louisville, Ky.
In the beginning, he said in an interview last month, his students greeted his decision to run for president with skepticism and, perhaps, some mild enthusiasm. But when he called a press conference to officially announce his candidacy, the students knew he was serious.
"They look forward to coming to class and are really into the campaign," said Mr. Kolb. His students, mostly 11th graders, work as advisers to his independent campaign.
Mr. Kolb originally thought of running for local office. But he scaled up his plans after deciding that a local race would not have as much educational impact.
He said he has drawn praise, but also plenty of kidding, from his colleagues at school. And he acknowledged that his wife was apprehensive at first.
"I told her, 'It will never leave the classroom,"' Mr. Kolb said. "I really didn't think it would get much publicity." He was mistaken.
The story has appeared in newspapers and on radio stations around the country.
All the attention has allowed Mr. Kolb to raise money for campaign expenses, such as the $1,000 in filing fees to officially enter the race.
A radio station in San Francisco that picked up the story has raised about $300. And, although it took some persuading, his wife finally agreed to be his treasurer.
Mr. Kolb and his students have selected issues that his campaign will look at in depth, including balancing the federal budget, crime, and teen pregnancy.
"Right now we are in the process of developing a platform on each of these issues," he said. "The idea is for them to critically examine each of them."
Mr. Kolb realizes that his campaign won't keep President Clinton awake at night.
But he said that as long as his students are making progress and learning, he plans on seeing it through. "The students seem very proud and glad that they were part of the whole scene."
--Adrienne D. Coles
Vol. 15, Issue 06