ELECTION day won the vote of approval at a South Tyneside school dedicated to democracy.
Politically-minded students at Mortimer Community College in South Shields have been making their mark at the ballot box all week, to help elect a new head girl and head boy.
Year 11 pupils Jack Cook, Patrick Costello, Steven Gillis, Christian O’Connell and Jason Swinhoe were in line for head boy duties, with Louise Cunningham, Jessica Hill, Charlotte Hind and Lucy Pye vying for the head girl role. After a closely-fought contest, Steven Gillis was named head boy and Charlotte Hind as head girl, with Jack Cook and Louise Cunningham their deputies.
The South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Eileen Leask, and Mayoress, Coun Olive Punchion, were on hand as voting was carefully scrutinised and counted before the eagerly-awaited results were announced on Friday.
The elections were set up by Year 10 pupils George Ebberson, Darcey Lines, Grace Collinson and Andrew Meikle as part of their bid to display the merits of the democratic process. The forward-thinking four set out to make a positive difference by rebranding the Mortimer Community College Student Voice, an organisation which puts forward the views of the collective student body.
They met with students from King Edward VI in Morpeth to see how their own student voice scheme worked, and shared ideas and plans.
The Reading Road school went the extra mile to ensure the event had an authentic election day feel.
The school reception was transformed into a polling station, with official booths and ballot boxes borrowed from South Shields Town Hall.
With turnouts low for recent elections, the student body were keen to show just how important it can be to have a say and ensure people’s voices were heard. The official results ceremony included a live video feed into all the school’s classrooms, followed by speeches from the winners.
Leah Collinson, student welfare leader at Mortimer Community College, said: “The day was brilliant. We had over 1,500 votes with a 98 per cent turnout.
“We had the Mayor of South Tyneside giving a speech about how important it is to vote.
“Hopefully, we’ve been able to reach the students and show how much of a difference they can make by voting.
“The head boy and girl will have their first official duties on Thursday and Friday at carol services at St Hilda’s Church, where they will both be giving speeches.”