Some area middle school students recently got a chance to jump into the world of politics.
Rather than just hold elections for its student government association, Charter Day School in Brunswick County modeled the occasion after state and national elections in an effort to impart some hands-on instruction.
Student candidates campaigned for a month leading up to the event, with some even selecting their peers as campaign managers and speech writers. In addition to developing their own slogans, presidential candidates also had to formulate a researched platform and legitimate plans of action, which they presented in speeches to fellow students earlier this month.
Leland mayor Brenda Bozeman and Brunswick County commissioner Pat Sykes were on hand for the school’s election day event.
Bozeman encouraged students to take voting seriously by examining candidates’ background, beliefs and core issues.
“Sometimes, we just vote for people because they are our friend or live near us, but those aren’t good reasons to vote,” she said. “You have to listen to people and know that, when you make the decision, that you are choosing the person that will do the right thing for everyone. Vote for the person who you know will be fair and honest to everyone.”
For her part, Sykes reminded students to be educated on the U.S. Constitution and the rights guaranteed within.
“It takes a lot of work to maintain and continue in our rights and freedoms. It is important for each of you to study and to know your Constitution. You are our leaders of tomorrow, and even in Brunswick County, you can be whatever you want to be,” Sykes noted.
When it came time for speeches, Charter Day School’s presidential candidates–all eighth graders–had a variety of topics to put forth to voters. Candidate Luke Boldt said he stands for a suggestion box for the middle school’s front office, while Frankie Dupre’ pushed for a student-run store with treats and commonly needed school supplies.
Luke Scacheri began his speech dressed as a clown, stating, “I’m not running for class clown, but I am running for class president. But Jack Boldt took a more serious approach, starting his own speech with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
To further involve all students in the democratic process, students waited in line to choose their new student government officials by private, online voting, even receiving an “I voted today” sticker when they were finished.
Within an hour of polls closing, results were announced as all students gathered around the school’s flagpole.
Officers for 2015-16 are as follows:
- Luke Scacheri–president
- Mikey Barcal–vice president
- Issa Baggett–treasurer
- Elizabeth Edwards–secretary