Several local schools are participating in a provincewide program "Student Vote" to not only give youth an understanding of our governments and election process but also to stop and consider local issues.
Doreen Nyback's grade 6 class at the Cochrane Christian Academy is among the classes discussing the candidates and issues before taking part in a mock vote that in the past has come uncannily close to the actual results.
It's all tied in with the study of government and democracy that is part of the grade 6 curriculum and holding a mock election makes it especially interactive for students.
They invited councillor candidate Marni Fedeyko to talk about issues and the importance of voting. She was selected her because of her involvement in the community.
"I did some research about her and read online about how she was named citizen of the year, which is amazing because we learn about citizenship in grade 6," explains Nyback. "We're learning about what it means to be in citizen in class, in school, in the community and beyond. I also liked her platform."
One student, Samarah Butler, had already completed her profiles of the candidates and said it was fun to prepare. She's keen on elections and said she would definitely vote if given the opportunity.
Fedeyko was impressed with the work Samarah had completed.
"Some of us have the same ideas, but some have very different ideas. To do all the research and know what everybody stands for is a lot of work," said Fedeyko.
After Fedeyko's presentation last week the rest of the class had a bit more time to complete their reports before voting for mayor and six councillors. The results will then be combined with those of other schools. Student Vote will be released after polls close on election night and will be compared to the actual results.
Guest speakers are commonly invited while completing the unit and last year they invited town councillor Tara McFadden.
Nearly 800 schools representing 60,000 students in 145 municipalities have registered to participate in the Student Vote program. Behind the Student Vote project is the nonprofit organization CIVIX, dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and engaged citizenship among young Canadians with a vision of a strong and inclusive democracy where all young people are ready, willing and able to participate.