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Making their voice count

Grade 5/6 students at Spring Street Academy were among five classes taking part in Student Vote on Monday. Lining up to cast their ballots were (from left) Emma Allen, Katie Atkinson, Lily Gilbert and Declan Forysthe.
Grade 5/6 students at Spring Street Academy were among five classes taking part in Student Vote on Monday. Lining up to cast their ballots were (from left) Emma Allen, Katie Atkinson, Lily Gilbert and Declan Forysthe.

AMHERST, N.S. – They listened to the candidates and did careful research before casting their ballots.

These votes may not count towards the May 30 provincial election result, but the students of Christie Smith’s Grade 5/6 class treated the exercise in a serious and thoughtful manner that could provide an example for many adults heading to the polls.

The class was one of several at Spring Street Academy taking part in the Student Vote on Monday morning.

Student Thomas Smith said there was one key consideration he took before marking his ballot.

“It’s the community,” he said. “What do they do for the community and do they care about the community? I want to know if they’re doing this for the community or if they’re doing it for their own good.”

The students did not make their decisions lightly. For the past two weeks they have been taking to their parents, reading their candidates’ pamphlets, and doing online research to help them make up their mind on who to support.

“I talked to my mom to see what she knew and thought, and I heard (Liberal candidate) Terry Farrell talk, because he was at my ACR (annual ceremonial review) for air cadets,” said Thomas.

Lily Gilbert got her mother to bring home pamphlets from the candidates, and she went on her father’s computer to research her candidates. She said she also spoke with her grandfather and got some information from him.

From the experience, she said she learned one important thing.

“I learned that it’s important to vote, because everyone should have the chance to say what they feel,” said Lily.

The students have shown great interest in the exercise, according to their teacher

“It’s just for them to really have an understanding of democracy in our country, and how every person has the right to vote and say who they think would be a great representative,” said Smith. “It’s great to see them engaged.”

The ballots were to be counted on Monday, with the results to be announced after the election.

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