Over the past few weeks many schools (both elementary and secondary schools) have been getting into the election spirit. Nowhere was this better illustrated than at Windermere and Magee Secondary Schools.
At Magee Secondary, students from Grades 8 to 11 helped pull together a successful all candidates debate. Students involved included Thomas Li, Kathryn Mannie, Khalil Virji, Amy Yao, Lisa Yashima, Behrad Hafezi, Maia Beresford, Sam Klein, Carol Lee, Marko Flores-Makon, Maddy Tan Alisha Mahi and Jordan Yin.
Yin said he and his fellow students were motivated to organize the debate because they felt many of their friends weren't particularly engaged in the political process. They wanted to connect the candidates with their cohort so that Magee students would be more aware about what was happening in the community and in the provincial election.
"The all-candidates debate was not only a good learning experience, but it was rewarding. At first, organizing an all-candidates debate within two weeks seemed merely impossible as every candidate was busy with their campaign," he says. "However, with good organizational skills, time management, and most importantly excellent teamwork, we overcame this challenge with success."
Yin says the debate itself was "exhilarating". It got a great turnout from media with journalists from Global TV, the Vancouver Observer , the Vancouver Courier and the Sing Tao stopping by to cover the event. Yin said all four candidates who attended the debate (Matt Toner, Andrew Wilkinson, Damian Kettlewell and Bill Clarke) had a lot to say that was of interest to the young (future) voters.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the district, students from Windermere were throwing themselves into organizing a school-wide "Student Vote" the day before the general election.
Windermere Grade 11 student Jessica Chen said the Student Vote initiative gave her classmates an opportunity to start thinking about voting - behavior she hopes they'll take with them long after they graduate from secondary school.
She said the main issues discussed in Windermere's halls the day of their mock election were education and the environment.
Grade 11 student Robert Dadra says the CBC's Vote Compass tool was very helpful for him and his classmates to figure out where the different parties stood on the issues.