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Students research grass roots governance process; have 79 per cent voter turnout
Middleton Regional High School teacher Bonny Hubley's Debating 12 class researched municipal governance and candidates in the Oct. 15 municipal election and then passed that information on the student body. On October 13 there was a school-wide mock election with 79 per cent voter turnout.
MIDDLETON - Students at Middleton Regional High School know a lot more about local government than they did a few weeks ago.
They hosted a real candidates' forum on Sept. 29 and on Oct. 13 held a mock municipal election.
Middleton's municipal election is Saturday, Oct. 15 with two candidates running for the position of mayor and nine candidates running for six council seats.
"We were teaching youth about what municipal government was responsible for and why it's important to engage youth in the voting process -- even at an early age where they are not yet eligible to vote," said teacher Bonny Hubley.
"My Debating 12 class researched municipal government and all the candidates and then delivered presentations to our student body to inform them about this whole process."
On Oct. 13 the Debating 12 students went around the school with the polling stations and the ballot boxes and allowed all of the students to vote -- about 600 of them.
"I think we ended up with a 79 per cent voter turnout," Hubley said, noting that they used the names of the real candidates in Middleton's race for mayor and council.
Hubley said the intent was to educate the student body about what councillors in the area are responsible for and what they represent. With that knowledge the voting students would be able to make informed decision ats the ballot box.
"I think certainly my Debating 12 students know so much more about the municipal government and the candidates than they knew before, and they helped deliver that content to the rest of the student body. I think they were proud of being part of that process."
Hubley hopes the student body embraced the project.
"I know that some of the students, because they knew some of the candidates, they were more interested. For instance, one of the candidates running for council is a teacher here. And the students were excited about that."
The Spectator will not be releasing results of the student vote so as to not influence the outcome of the real election Saturday.