Wednesday 26th August 2009 by C. Freeman
Voting fever swept through Brooke Weston as the Year 8 students held their own election, campaigning on a variety of issues. Fairway were victorious after scooping 24% of the vote, beating off stiff competition from seven other political parties.
Fairway leaders, Sowmya Garikipati and Eliot Beeby were presented with a commemorative trophy during assembly when Dr Rowe announced the winners and revealed the voting trends.
The 'Power to the People' project ran over seven working days. The Year 8 tutor groups had to devise a campaign manifesto, coupled with slogans, advertising, fundraising and electioneering to win as many votes as possible.
The first few days were spent on issues such as immigration, taxation, education and health and then the groups had to decide which topics they felt most passionately about. They wrote manifestos, appointed a party leader and lobbied members of staff for 'funding'. This was earmarked for promotional material, websites and posters which were prominently displayed to entice voters. Campaigns focused on economic, social and environmental issues, with taxation, animal rights, foreign aid and education featuring prominently on the parties' literature.
After their election victory Sowmya and Eliot praised the teamwork of their tutor group, 8R, including their campaign manager, Ellie Crozier along with Andrew Elliott and Alex Byrne who made a promotional video. Sowmya said: 'Lots of people were involved in it, so it wasn't just us two. Everyone wrote a bit of a speech and we put it together. We know so much more about elections now through doing this project.'
Eliot said: 'It was really a group effort. We give great thanks to our campaign manager, Ellie Crozier who did a good job and made sure everyone was doing the task they had signed up for, like working on videos, leaflets and manifestos.'
The other political contenders were Jen Dobson who represented Renaissance, with Briana Rogerson standing for GBL. Charleigh Reid was the T-Party leader while Harry Fulton stood for Actionists and E Fusion's party leader was Jack Crane. Cole MacLeod represented N-PAC and Joanna Newton was the face of Social Alliance. Each party had to give a presentation to Years 7 and 9 in the Weston Theatre the day before the poll, which gave them the chance for some last-minute spin-doctoring and political finessing.
A total of 593 votes was cast with voters ranging from Principal Miss Stringer through to the youngest Year 7 student with an unsurprisingly 92% of Year 8 students exercising their right to vote. Fairway got 144 votes, with Actionists and E Fusion coming second and third in the polls with a creditable 99 and 89 votes respectively.
Vice Principal Mrs Steele presented the trophy to Sowmya and Eliot during assembly and, as well as commending the students on their hard work, she also thanked the project co-ordinator, Dr Rowe.
Dr Rowe said: 'Congratulations to the winning team but all the students have been so professional and they have worked so hard. They thoroughly engaged with the election, not only the Year 8s but the rest of the school as well. The students have said how much they have grown up through the whole experience. I was really impressed with some of the presentations and, of course, the 20% pay rise for teachers proposed by one of the groups was very tempting!'