“Vote. It’s as simple as that” — Student Vote at Thomas Haney Secondary School

May 5th, 2017 by CIVIX

Marlowe Evans is a senior student at Thomas Haney Secondary School in Maple Ridge, B.C. Marlowe organized an all-candidates’ forum at her school as part of Student Vote BC 2017.

Vote. It’s as simple as that. Democracy is the foundation upon which our country was built and voting is what keeps us true to this principle. I am seventeen and can’t vote in legal elections yet, but I’m getting close.

I first voted in the fifth grade. Even then, everyone in my class felt empowered to be able to vote. Political parties know that the results of Student Vote are important. Young people become voters, and when we vote “for real,” we will already have a firm grasp of the process. The fact of the matter is, when I’m eighteen, I’ll already have student voted in three elections. It’s nearly the real thing.

Though my generation may have a reputation for not paying attention, for being apathetic, we get charged about our politics. Not a day of my high school career has passed without getting political. We are keen observers of what is swirling around us in the global, national, and provincial political arenas. Our discussions are intense and we have strong opinions. Today’s political actions shape the world we will inherit. High school students know what’s happening, and we discuss politics, often– between classes, at lunch, and on break.

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Student Vote provides an authentic voting experience for youth across Canada. Without being encouraged to become involved in the democratic process, our enthusiasm for politics may wane. Barely half of all eligible voters in the province bothered to vote in the 2013 provincial election. Nonetheless, Student Vote has encouraged me to become involved, not only with organizing a vote for my high school, but also organizing a political forum.

I hosted an All-Candidates Question Period at Thomas Haney Secondary at the end of April, allowing students to ask questions about issues that were relevant to them. The questions they came up with didn’t surprise me at all.

Sure, they asked about the housing crisis and drugs – important, but predictable. Little did I know they were only getting warmed up. Students went on, asking, “What is your party going to do for First Nations youth, and to preserve their culture?”Where does your party stand on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights?” While every candidate had an answer, it was clear that these were questions that made them think. The meeting was concrete evidence: youth are well aware of the issues and want to be involved.

So yes, my generation may have a reputation for not paying attention, for being apathetic, but we are charged. Every day reminds me that one day I will be a voter. That one day, everything we simulate with Student Vote will be happening for real. The passion that I experience through debate and discussion won’t only be taking place in classrooms and hallways, but on the world stage.

I encourage students and teachers in schools across Canada to participate in Student Vote. Next week will decide the future of B.C. for the next four years. Though I may not be legal to vote, I like to think that I can still make a difference. Student Vote enables me to express my opinion about what I believe is best for my province, and ultimately, my country.

Marlowe also wrote about the all-candidates’ forum she organized for the Maple Ridge News.

Student Vote BC 2017 culminates next week with more than 180,000 elementary and secondary students casting ballots in all 87 provincial electoral districts. Results will be released at the close of polls on May 9.

Posted in English, Student Vote |

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