HomeMarlton NewsEvesham’s Van Zant Elementary school holds student council election as lesson on...

Evesham’s Van Zant Elementary school holds student council election as lesson on power and responsibility


This last month has seen political candidates across the state making their final pitches as to why they should be elected to various offices and positions. Last week, that trend extended to Evesham’s own Van Zant Elementary School.

On Monday, Nov. 2, 26 fifth-grade students at the school stood before an audience of their fifth-grade peers, held up campaign signs and gave speeches outlining what issues they would champion if elected to the school’s student council.

According to fifth-grade teacher and student council advisor Christine Keltos, the annual student council election ties into the social studies unit for the fifth-grade class as the unit deals with power and responsibility.

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During the unit, students learn about the different parts of government, how elections work and how to responsibly use power for those who vote and for those elected.

The culminating activity for the unit is the student council election, which Keltos said brings a real-life experience to the students.

“They learn about power and responsibility and using your power in a responsible way, especially now through their voting,” Keltos said. “Now, when they actually get to go through the process themselves, it kind of means more to them.”

For the weeks leading up to the election, students would decide whether they wanted to run for student council or work as a candidate’s campaign manager or one of the candidates’ campaign workers.

Students would then work in teams on posters and platform ideas, as well as come up with speeches and determine the best issues to run on and how to appeal to voters made up of their fellow fifth-grade students.

On Nov. 2, the day before the actual general election, students presented their ideas and speeches, and the day after the general election on Wednesday, Nov. 3, students in each of the school’s four fifth-grade homerooms were able to vote for two candidates per homeroom they wanted on student council.

Student council acts as a weekly club at the school where those elected will meet and try to bring the issues they campaigned on to life, such as changes to seating assignments at lunch, longer recess time, school dances, school spirit days and more.

“Our job once we meet is to try to accomplish as many of the platforms as possible,” Keltos said.


For 11-year-old candidate Danny Hassall, with the campaign slogan of “Don’t be a hassle, vote for Hassall,” he said the election was fun but it took a lot of hard work.

“I wanted to do this since the second grade. The ideas just appeal to me,” Danny said. “I want to organize a spring soccer tournament, and I also want to get new toilet paper. We need two-ply.”

Another candidate, 10-year-old Sophia Stancati, with the campaign slogan “Vote 4 Sophia, she really needs ya,” said she wanted to run because she thought the experience would be good for her career aspirations of working for a big company or as an electrical engineer.

“The hardest part was probably having to do the speech because you want to do your best, but there’s a lot of well-known people and you have to do your best and work your hardest,” Sophia said.

Candidate Rishi Lad, 11, who ran on “Be glad and vote for Lad,” said he wanted to accomplish his platform of having more spirit days.

“I think it was really fun because you get to team up with your friends, choose who you want, and every day you get together and you have to keep on doing it,” Rishi said. “Everybody is working on one thing at the same time and it’s really fun.”

Keltos said the experience taught students about working together to accomplish a bigger goal.

“I think it just teaches them teamwork, and when you have a goal, a lot goes into accomplishing it,” Keltos said. “Trying to get onto student council, you can’t do it by yourself. You have to work with others.”

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