Heidi Wadden gets ready to make her choice in the StudentVote mock election at Georges P. Vanier Junior High. Waiting her turn is Olivia Chute, while teacher Damion Pollard oversees how everything is going. (Healey photo)

FALL RIVER: Two local schools are getting the opportunity to find out what the four local candidates have to offer the riding and province.

Holland Road Elementary School in Fletchers Lake and Georges P. Vanier Junior High in Fall River will have students in a few of their respective classes taking part in StudentVote. In previous years, StudentVote has been held to determine what the outcome would be if students voted in the municipal and federal election.

At GPV, teacher Damion Pollard said it’s important now more than ever to hold these mock elections as students realize the influence government has to what happens in their classroom.

“It’s important to show that they can have a voice, and these results could be interpreted as to what the future of the area is looking for,” he said. “I also think the students need to be aware of the process of government. It’s not just people that are placed into these positions, it’s power that’s given to them by people in the community.”

He said they talked about empowerment in Grade 7 Social Studies, with political empowerment being one of the topics.

“I hope my students realize that getting to vote is a privilege and we should be doing it at every opportunity,” said Pollard. “We will have the students vote not for the individual but for the political party and their beliefs on how this riding should be run.”

Pollard hoped to have all four candidates come in to the school to speak to the students in his class.

Students Heidi Warren and Olivia Chute both are looking forward to the opportunity.

“I think it’s good for us to get this opportunity,” said Warren. “In the years to come we will have to vote in an election for someone in our community.

Warren thought the activity would be very educational for her and her peers.

“It’s very good for us to learn how to do this and what to think about so we’re not just making a silly or bias decisions when we come to vote,” she said.

Chute agreed.

“I think it’s great that we can learn about voting and what it’s all about so we’re better at it when we’re of legal age to vote,” she said.

Students at GPV were scheduled to hold their election and vote on May 29. The results will only be made available after the polls close for the real election at 8 p.m. on May 30.

Keep an eye on our website next week for the story on Holland Road Schools StudentVote.