By Shahrazad Amin
On May 4th and 5th, 2017, Alpha students made their voices heard by participating in the Student Vote. Everyone had the opportunity to vote for our local Burnaby North riding candidates: Janet Routledge for NDP, Richard T. Lee representing the BC Liberals, and Dr. Peter Hallschmid representing the Green Party of BC. With the election booths situated in the Cafeteria, students had the opportunity to vote on their own time before classes, during lunch, and after school.
Before the voting even started, students had the opportunity to learn more about the electoral process and the different political parties in BC through many different educational events, most notably the “Pizza Educationals” and the “Meet the Candidates” events. Throughout the two different Pizza Educational sessions, students learned, discussed, and debated over the topics at hand, such as housing affordability and minimum wage. After watching a powerpoint, the students received a slice of pizza and were left to reflect on all the information they just learned.
The other major event was “Meet the Candidates”. This was when the three candidates from the Burnaby-North riding came to Alpha to describe their platforms and answer some students questions. The candidates also had a chance to voice some of their personal opinions on the election and even how they got involved in politics. This immersive experience allowed students to experience first-hand the world of politics and got to ask their own questions to the candidates.
The two days of voting were very busy and the student volunteers were there from early in the morning to late in the evening helping run the voting stations, answering student’s questions, and counting ballots. Each student who voted received a custom Alpha “I Voted” sticker, and many found this experience very similar to if you voted in the official election. “They give you a sticker and everything,” one student noted, “I really like how realistic this whole process has been… There are real voting booths, you have to bring some ID, vote on your own time, and get a cool sticker after you vote!”
At last, after the last ballots were counted and tallied, the results were in. Alpha students had elected the Peter Hallschmid of the Green Party of BC. Winning about 38% of the votes, students chose a clear winner in the election. NDP followed with 32% of votes, and Liberals gaining only 30% of votes. Interestingly, compared to the official results of the Burnaby North riding, the NDP won with 48% of votes, followed by Liberals with 41% of votes, and Green trailing behind with only 12% of votes. In the end, students learned a lot about the elections, the electoral process, and got to participate in fun events to immerse themselves in voting. Overall, this year’s Student Vote was really successful thanks to all the student volunteers who spent a lot of time planning all the different events, as well as the sponsor teacher, Mme. Godin.