The elementary curriculum includes studying the different levels of government and the local municipal election campaign has given elementary school teachers an opportunity to give their students some hands-on training in democracy.
“It is great that this is happening right now in our backyard,” said Greenwood Elementary teacher Jennifer Eaton.
“We talked about all of the different levels of government, but we are focussing on local because we can right now.”
As part of that process the Grade 4 to 7 students at Greenwood Elementary and the Grade 6-7 kids from West Boundary hosted an all candidates forum last week.
Politicians who attended the event were Greenwood mayoral incumbent Nipper Kettle and challengers Ed Smith and Barry Noll.
The five candidates for Greenwood council were also there: incumbents Darla Ashton, Colleen Lang, and Lee Cudworth; along with first-time candidates Nola Tutti and Christopher Yates.
Vicki Gee also attended—the only Area E candidate to make the forum. So did Cathy Riddle who has retained her seat as a school trustee by acclamation.
The students had prepared questions before the session and Principal Brian Foy acted as moderator.
The students were encouraged to listen carefully to the statements of the candidates and try to pick out their campaign slogans and key messages.
The questions were well thought out too—covering everything from the possibility of having a BMX track in Greenwood to how to deal with the high levels of poverty in the area.
The candidates were all very impressed with the two-hour session; somewhat noteworthy in that it was twice as long as the other forums that were held in the community for the adults.
The students will be given an opportunity to cast their own votes for the candidate(s) they think would best represent them in a school election this week.