There have been many posts about our school’s nurturing democracy program over the last few years at my blog, including this one about our plan to hold formal elections conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Today, we made significant progress in assisting students to learn about how preferential voting works in our country as almost 900 students voted for their school leaders.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) elections take place late in term 2 at our school for a number of reasons. Our strategy has been to have new captains and prefects in place at the beginning of term 3 so our Year 12 student leaders can relinquish formal duties and concentrate on preparing for their Higher School Certificate and the challenging trial exams in August. This system seems to work well and means our new leaders can seek advice from their older peers, if needed, as the batons are passed.
Students voted for their leaders in each year cohort today. Year 11 students and staff voted for our new captains, vice-captains and prefects. The students responded well to the seriousness of this important event but I could really sense they were having fun too as I took photos during the day. They had considered their votes in the weeks prior and really seemed to respect that the candidates who were being very brave, putting themselves forward, making speeches in front of their peers and teachers as part of the election process.
The poll was completely formal and mirrored exactly what an Australian citizen experiences when voting at a federal election. The school must follow the legislation that governs such elections in Australia. The AEC are currently counting the votes and the principal will announce our new captains and SRC team next week.
What follows is a photo essay of our first formally conducted election. I think it gives a sense of this important day at our school.
The election went smoothly today for a number of reasons. Our current Student Representative Council is an excellent team who work harmoniously together. This team did a fantastic job and made great polling officials. Their collaborating teachers, Allison and Joel, are completely organised, enthusiastic and committed to helping the students. Our school particularly appreciates the friendly, efficient coordination of this event by Mina Choubassi, the AEC Project Officer who has worked tirelessly to ensure we had an authentic election day. Mina’s speech last week to 1000 students and teachers about democracy and formal voting processes was excellent and really assisted students to understand what they were going to have to do – and, more importantly, why.
The principal has invited Mina to be a guest at the induction ceremony where our new captains, prefects and representatives take the pledge and are celebrated by the school. Thanks for all your help, Mina. This was an important process and event for our school and we were well-supported indeed!
Your school should consider participating in the AEC’s ‘Get Voting’ initiative too. I’d highly recommend it but more importantly, so would our students!
I would, as always, really value your thoughts, comments, queries, challenges and questions at this post.