EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 5, 2013

Pelham students get first chance to vote

PELHAM — The hard-fought campaign had come down to this, a last chance to sway the voters before they cast ballots.

Zach Warren walked to the front of the room, knowing Madison Robito had just delivered the speech of her life.

She had executed a last-minute gamble, playing the gender card.

“Girls can be leaders, too,” Madison said, appealing to the feminine bloc in her fifth-grade classroom.

Zach, bearing a populist message, pointed a finger at his classmates, asking what they wanted of their Student Council.

He politely dismissed a suggestion far too big for Pelham Elementary School.

“Something we can do something about,” Zach said, appealing for an issue that really would matter and make a difference in their young lives.

The voters spoke, demanding better school lunches.

Zach concurred, said the right things, then in the spirit of the best politicians, moved the election along to the ballot box.

“I’m your man,” Zach told the voters.

Voters across America went to the polls yesterday, but few experienced the democratic process in quite the spirited way of the students at Pelham Elementary.

Twenty-eight candidates contested 13 seats on the Student Council. There were 172 eligible voters.

Special education case manager Lauren Hall is helping to reinstate the council after its absence for several years.

“They will be responsible for fundraising, community events, trained to do announcements, organizing the fifth-grade event at the end of the year when they celebrate their leaving the school,” Hall said.

A former Pelham student herself, Hall served as the student government president at Rivier University in Nashua.

She has set a high standard for the council.

She called for councilors to be role models for the school, behaving well inside the classroom and out, showing respect for others and having a positive attitude.

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