LONDONDERRY — Following in the footprints of their political counterparts, fifth-graders at North School gathered to hear presidential candidates’ speeches last week.
Each of the six classes at North School elected its own representatives and the candidates addressed other students in a bid to win their votes.
Students came up with their own party names and political affiliations. Some names were more abstract, like the Bubbles Party in Mr. Gustavon’s class, while other students took a more direct approach to their names, like the Number One party of Mr. Rheult’s class.
Each of the students spent two months campaigning, which involved making posters, television ads and, of course, stump speeches, social studies teacher Beth Haarlander said.
Each presidential candidate then interviewed other classmates to choose a vice president. Each party also chose an icon to go along with its platform.
Not every student ran a clean campaign, as several candidates gave out candy to their classmates before election day.
Although the campaigning was not as long or thorough as elected officials, it was no easy trail.
“It’s a lot of extra work, but it’s really fun,” said Sam Fish, Coastal Party candidate of Mrs. Carballeira’s class said.
One of the main platforms for the candidates was the hot-button issue of chewing gum in class.
Carter Crowley promised his constituents they would be allowed to chew gum both in class and on the bus.
Other candidates aimed to defend those picked on by bullies.
“If you are being bullied, speak up,” Alex Metro said. “If you see something, tell a teacher. Together we can end bullying.”
Some candidates promised less homework and shorter school days.
Olivia Stowell made some realistic promises in her speech.
“I can’t shorten school days,” she said. “I cannot promise less homework or easier classes. But, as your president, I will work for you.”
Some students believed voting was a private matter.
“I didn’t like it when people asked me who I was voting for,” Olivia Bollengier said.