MEDICINE HAT, AB — Although they can’t legally vote just yet, Students at Crescent Heights High School exercised their democratic rights on Wednesday, casting their votes for the Medicine Hat Civic Election.
The school took part in Student Vote, a program organized by Civix Canada. The program, which is being held at the municipal level for the first time, allows students to vote for the candidates they support for mayor, city council and school board.
“We think it’s important that kids have real-life type experiences,” said Heather McCaig, a teacher at Crescent Heights who helped organize the vote at the school. “We want them to do things that they’re going to have to do in their lives.”
The students are handed a ballot, given instructions for voting and cast their ballots, mimicking an actual election.
McCaig, who teaches social studies at the school, says current events and elections remain a part of the curriculum, and the current election is being discussed as part of current events.
“We have been looking at this as a school, and we hope that our students are coming in, at least somewhat prepared to vote today,” she said.
Alex Lester, a Grade 10 student at the school, says it’s important for students to be informed about local issues.
“We have to vote when we’re older, so I think it’s very beneficial, so that you know who you are thinking about electing,” she said.
McCaig adds events like Student Vote help understand the importance of voting and being engaged in your community.
“People die to vote around the world,” she said. “If people there are willing to die, we should at least teach our kids to step up, give their opinions on these very important things, because these people do make rules that we have to live by.”
Schools across all three local divisions are taking part in the vote, part of 934 across Alberta.
The results will be known after the official polls close on October 16.
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