Junior high students exercise their right

Andrew Wagstaff
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E.B. Chandler takes part in province-wide voting exercise

E.B. Chandler Junior High School Grade 8 students Diwan Minocha (left) and Alexis Gilroy were among the many who participated in Student Vote on Monday as part of their Social Studies class with teacher Angela Blenkhorn.

AMHERST – Don’t tell Alexis Gilroy and Diwan Minocha they are too young to vote.

The students were among 130-140 from Grade 7 and 8 at E.B. Chandler Junior High School who participated in Student Vote, a national organization that runs parallel elections for students to coincide with official election periods.

“It was different because there are so many options,” said Diwan. “It was hard to choose from, especially because I hadn’t seen most of their campaigns.”

Alexis had an equally tough time casting her vote on Monday.

“The only way I could choose was just to pick a number and go down the list, because I kind of liked what they all said,” she explained.

The students were part of one of five Social Studies classes with teacher Angela Blenkhorn, who had until 7 p.m. Wednesday night to have the votes counted and registered online at Student Vote. The votes were to be tabulated with the other 230 participating schools from around Nova Scotia, and the results were expected to be revealed on Election Day.

With aim to provide young Canadians with a chance to experience the democratic process firsthand, and to inform and engage themselves, Student Vote combines in-class learning, family dialogue and media consumption with the authentic voting experience.

“Last week we spent the whole week goring through the book and the candidates, who they were, and we looked at the leaders’ CBC introductory speeches and how they presented themselves,” she said. “We also looked at the local papers here. Some of the kids do have a bit of a background on some of the candidates.”

The students said they had fun learning about it, and were anxious to see the results of their vote.

Blenkhorn had much praise for the program, saying it gives the students a better understanding of the process.

“I think for them, a lot of it is understanding the voting process a lot better, because they didn’t understand it before,” she said. “The program is supposed to help them go home and talk to their parents as well, and a lot of them have.”


Twitter: @ADNandrew 

Organizations: E.B. Chandler Junior High School, CBC

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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