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Lipsey student body preparing to vote

Nervous but determined, 87 fifth- and sixth-graders at Lipsey School stepped up to the intercom Thursday to ask their fellow students for their votes in the student council elections.

For most of the candidates, this will be their first glimpse at representative government, according to student council sponsor Heather Smith.

“It’s been very exciting for our students as they learn about campaigning and the election process,” she said.

Smith has been sponsor of the student council for three years, and each year she said she’s seen the enthusiasm for the elections grow. The number of candidates has grown as well, from 39 candidates in 2014 and 57 candidates in 2015 to 87 candidates in 2016.

Out of all the candidates, only nine will be elected to serve on the student council. While the council will have plenty of support from the three teacher sponsors, council members will have a responsibility themselves to represent the student body and also to organize events.

The president gives announcements over the intercom, the treasurer helps count fundraising money, the secretary takes notes at the meetings and parliamentarians lead the pledge at events. The council will also help give fourth-graders who will be attending Lipsey next year a tour of the school. Fifth and sixth grades each have two class representatives responsible for bringing the ideas of their fellow students to meetings.

Council members are also involved in volunteer work for the community. In October, the council will begin preparing for their first project — a sausage and biscuit breakfast for bus drivers during Bus Driver Safety Week.

In the spring, they collect money to help send children with muscular dystrophy to summer camp, and collect adhesive bandages with cartoon characters on them for children at hospitals.

“It teaches them to give and to help others,” Smith said.

Finally, to continue with the theme of the student council as a way to introduce students to the concept of a representative government, council members will also guide residents to the voting booths at Lipsey on Election Day in the county.

All in all, Smith said it’s an experience students take with them to the next grades. According to Smith, many student council members continue to run in subsequent years.

“It seems to put a fire in them and make them excited to try and win the next year,” she said.

Potential council members have been campaigning for the past week, and Lipsey students will vote for their favorite candidates today.