VALLEY – While many residents throughout the province cast their ballot, students at Redcliff Middle School did the same.
© Raissa Tetanish – Truro Daily News
Grade 7 student Isabelle Harrington casts her ballot at a mock vote at Redcliff Middle School yesterday. The student body learned about the political parties’ platforms thanks to an educational video students put together, and then cast their ballots.
About 500 students in grades five through seven held a mock vote during their lunch break on Tuesday and will have their results announced Wednesday.
“It’s important to start following the voting process now,” said Hayley Haner, a 12-year-old in Grade 7 who helped with the project. “It was pretty cool for us to be involved.”
One of the big focuses for Grade 7 social studies students was political empowerment, and with the provincial election that ended Tuesday, teacher Adam Hinton said it was the perfect opportunity to teach the students about elections.
Students had a hand in researching the political parties, and putting together some highlights from their platforms. They presented videos to their fellow classmates last week.
“We learned what the parties wanted to do,” said Mackenna Cronkite, also in Grade 7.
“And how they wanted to help,” added Hayley.
“A lot of the students really enjoyed this and did their research,” said Hinton, as students lined up at two different polling stations.
“They created an educational video, and the students learned the basic terms, such as what the premier does and about MLAs. It was all written and developed by students.”
Principal Al Kennedy said students at the school during the most recent federal election also voted at that time, and they were surprised by how close the results were to the real thing.
“They were close enough that we could’ve predicted who would have won by about four or five votes,” Kennedy said. “It’s all about getting the kids involved in the democratic process and teaching them that every vote has meaning and that voting is a right.”
Students are also taught that not voting is not an option.
“This is a good way to get the students talking about the democratic process and what the election means,” added Hinton. “We have a youth culture that is somewhat ambivalent toward politics and the earlier we get students talking, the more they feel they have a stake in it. Informed student voters make for better democracy.”
While the project got the students involved in the voting process, it could go a little bit further in igniting a spark.
“It will also help us in that when we get older, maybe we want to be the person to run,” Mackenna said.
The voting process at the school was much the same as a constituent voting. Students had a particular polling station to go to and gave their name. Someone working the station crossed their name off, gave them their ballot and the voter then went behind a partition to mark their vote.
They then folded their ballot and popped it into the box for counting.