It's election time! I'm not referring to the provincial elections that will occur on Wednesday, October 6, although that's a pretty important topic. I'm talking about my school's Student Council elections that will take place on Monday October 4. The teacher that was in charge of last year's student council is on maternity leave and several students begged and pleaded with me to be one of the staff sponsors so that student council would continue to exist at the school. Despite having a pretty heavy workload, including yearbook and my new position as school chairperson, I agreed to co-run it with one of the intermediate division teachers. I've warned the students that I will manage the council in a different style than my predecessor. Some immediate changes centered on the voting procedures: there will be no "teacher vetoes/overrides" of the election results and the candidates are allowed to vote in their class election. There are three classes involved - two grade 7-8 classes and one grade 6 class. Each class will choose three representatives for the student council. When I talked to each class about the election, there were many questions and lots of interest.
"But what if people just vote for their friends? What if it ends up being a popularity contest?"
The teachers and I explained that, just like in real life, democracy can be messy. Sometimes people are swayed by fancy rhetoric or the influence of their friends or the media. We just have to hope that the voting public (the grade 6, 7, and 8 students for the school election, the eligible citizens of Ontario for the provincial election) will be responsible enough to think carefully before voting and choose a representative that will best meet the needs of the group. Responsibility is the character trait for the month of October, so it fit the discussion well.
Students that are up for election have to make a 1-2 minute speech in front of their class explaining why their peers should vote for them. That is the only required element for the candidates. I've been impressed by how these students have taken the initiative to do some extra campaigning. Some samples are below.
One of our grade 8 candidates has a grade 9 campaign manager, who has been busy emailing the students in his class and recommending that they vote for him. He has also taken to Twitter to advertise. Since both of their Twitter accounts are public, I'm leaving their names and photos in the tweets I copied to share on the blog.
Cassandratsao Cassandra Tsao
aww, dressed up today to do my speech but we had our terry fox run so we couldnt do them! :(
By the way, I did remind the candidate and his campaign manager that it is illegal to try and buy votes using bribes. Amazing how school life and real life intersect!
The grade 6s have their own private blog, the Agnes Macphail Learning Playground. Once again, of their own accord, the students decided to do some campaigning online. Because this blog is private, I'm altering their names so they aren't completely identifiable.The comment section is just as fascinating as the original posts, so I've copied them here as well.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
VOTE FOR ME- student council
Tired of the same spirit days every year? I will change that for you if you VOTE for me. Want better merchandise in school fundraising activities? I will ask for you if you VOTE for me. I know what you guys like. Trust me, I DO. I am a student just like you. VOTE for me, and you will have the best school year ever!
For more info, please contact me in room 114.
Thanks for your vote.