April 17th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 18
CCHS hold Forum for local Election Candidates
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
David Selles Photo
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
Students at CCHS were given the opportunity to engage with the local candidates ahead of the Election on April 16th.

The school held a forum with the candidates that was run by the students.

High school teacher Cole Heppell says the process was a great way to get the students involved with the election.

“The kids came up with the questions and facilitated the whole event and that was the core of it. If I were to facilitate it, it wouldn't be meaningful for the kids. We had our moderator and panel of students and we wanted it to be student centered so that they could get the most out of it.”

Heppell says it was important for the older students to have this chance.

“Some of our Grade 12's are able to vote. We've got 20 kids in CCHS that can vote so this is meaningful for the actual election as well as the coming elections to build that society that is democratically active.”

Heppell’s class took more time on the subject because of the chance they were given having an election this year.
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“I took a little bit of extra time just because this is a unique experience these kids wouldn't normally get every year. I took a little bit of extra time this past week talking about what an MLA is and talking about government structure and who our candidates are and what they stand for. We talked about what the issues are. What are the issues going to be for these kids and what do they think the issues are going to be in the coming years when they become voters?”

The school will also be hosting an election of their own on Tuesday to give students the chance to see what being involved in this process is like.

Heppell says students from all grades were involved and that he was pleased with the engagement he got from students.

“Throughout the school, we've got a number of grades that have been participating. They've created posters, getting informed and looking at all the information online about the parties. I’m super impressed with the response form students. I had a couple of grade 7 students as part of the panel that I’m really proud of as well as the older students involved.”
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Heppell was also happy with the students taking in the forum from the bleachers.

“There was also engagement from the rest of the students. I looked over my shoulder and there were no cellphones. All the students were engaged and listening, which was pretty awesome. That's effective learning when they're taking their own personal time to engage with the learning.”

According to Heppell, the main idea for this forum was to give the students an opportunity to realize the impact they can have on elections now and in the future.

“They put a face to the name. We talk about leadership; we talk about rhetoric and parties. In our voting system, it's very easy to get distanced from it. It's easy to say that these people are just politicians, so I wanted to bring them in and expose the students to the candidates so that they can put a face to the name and show them they can actually have a say in what happens in our government.”

The exposure is what Heppell thinks was a big key in all of this.

“This gave them a chance to meet and shake the hand of the person that might be their voice for the next four years. I just wanted to expose them and say these are real people and that these students have a say in government. These students can have an impact on the candidates and vice versa.”
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April 17th, 2019 ~ Vol. 89 No. 18
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