DeForest 8th grader correctly predicts each state’s election results

DEFOREST, Wis. — Similar to March Madness brackets, it’s pretty difficult to guess which way all 50 states will be called in a presidential election, but one DeForest student pulled it off.

Grace, an 8th grader at DeForest Middle School, guessed correctly each state that went blue and each that went red.

The challenge was created by a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate and former social studies teacher who wanted to get students excited about learning. His company, FANschool, hosted the nationwide contest for the second time.

“We’re sort of turning students into owners of their own learning. And they’re basically telling us that they’re listening and learning. And just by doing that and learning a lot about the election, diving in and thinking about politics in different ways than they see their parents doing, which is often pretty divisive, we just see that they enjoy doing this,” said FANschool founder Eric Nelson.

He said more than 10,000 students, from every state, participated in the challenge, and only four students picked the perfect map. In 2016, no students submitted a perfect map.

“I researched a little bit to figure out what states would be blue or red and I looked at some states that would be called in the beginning,” Grace said. “And I did get really into it, I got really competitive and tried my best.”

This was Grace’s first time participating in the challenge. She said she wasn’t interested in politics before this, and she really didn’t think she had a chance at winning.

Since four students submitted perfect maps, the contest went to a tie breaker. Student had to predict data such as voter turnout and the margin of victory.

Grace didn’t win that tie breaker, but said she is still shocked and excited that she was a finalist.