Fifth grader Mallory Toomey said she accidentally predicted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, noting Trump might win the Electoral College vote count, but Clinton would win the popular vote.

"In all transparency," said the 10-year -old from Radnor Elementary, "I was really using that as an example" of how the Electoral College works.

Toomey was speaking Wednesday at a news conference announcing the top 10 finalists in the Lenfest Citizenship Challenge Essay Competition at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. A class from her school was among the finalists.

The essay competition is for fourth- and fifth- grade classes in the Philadelphia metropolitan region. This year, students were asked to write on the topic: "Should the Constitution be amended to eliminate the Electoral College system for selecting the President and replaced with the national popular vote?"

In her essay, Toomey, one of four students representing her school, said she argued for keeping the Electoral College.

"I think it keeps the U.S politics bound together," she said.

During the news conference, former Gov. Ed Rendell, who was on hand to announce the finalists, not surprisingly called for changing the Electoral College system so that votes are awarded to a candidate based on the portion of the popular vote each receives.

"Then every person's vote would count and it would be far more democratic," he said.

In addition to Radnor Elementary, finalists included classes from:

E.M. Stanton and Kirkbride elementaries in Philadelphia; Perelman Jewish Day School in Wynnewood; Chestnutwold Elementary in Haverford; Merion Elementary in Lower Merion; St. Teresa of Calcutta Education Center in Schwenksville; McKinley Elementary in Abington; Glenwood Elementary in Media; and Buckingham Elementary in Buckingham.

A winner will announced Dec. 13. at the National Constitution Center.

215-854-5987 @ValerieRussDN