The Grade 9 class at Tuugaalik High School have picked a winner. They elected Solomon Malliki as their new mayor during a mock municipal election earlier this month. The students have been holding mock elections for a few years now.

Sabina Iyyriaq casts her ballot during the Grade 9 class at Tuugaalik High School’s mock municipal election in Naujaat on Dec. 8. photo courtesy of Lloyd Francis

Grade 9 teacher Lloyd Francis said it was the students’ idea to continue their political studies by hosting the mock municipal election.

He said he agreed with the idea and quickly arranged for all five mayoral candidates to address the class.

“They (the candidates) all agreed to come in and speak to the students for 10 minutes on the same day, so they all went back to back, one after another, with their five presentations” said Francis.

“The fact the students asked to hold this mock election shows me the program is making an impact on them.

“They really got into the mock territorial election, so I wanted to keep their interest peaked and it didn’t take too much effort to pull this one together.”

Francis said the candidate presentations go over well with the students, and they really get to know each candidate better and what their platforms are.

He said with the race for mayor, every student in his class was related to one of the candidates in one way or another.

“Two of the candidates’ children are in the class, a grandchild, etcetera, so it was really interesting to watch that dynamic play out,” said Francis.

“Our mock municipal election was a lot closer to home than the others, per se.”

Francis said the students didn’t ask too many questions of the candidates this time around, due to the fact their presentations were under such a tight time constraint.

He said, instead, the class brainstormed five questions each candidate would answer during their presentation.

“We felt that would make their presentations consistent and, any extra time we had with a candidate, we just let them talk about whatever issue they wanted to for the final few minutes,” he said.

“The questions the class wanted the candidates to answer were about the qualities they believed they had to make them a good mayor, what they would do to help improve Naujaat (especially for the youth), what experience they had that qualified them for the job and, just to make things a little lighter, what their favourite food is.

“Every single candidate who spoke to the class said, in one way or another, that these students will be the future leaders of Naujaat, and they really enjoyed the opportunity to come in and talk with the class.”

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