by Whitney Williams Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013
Against the backdrop of political corruption, students at The Jubilee School in Honduras learned some valuable lessons that both their country’s politicians and citizens would do well to remember.First, they learned about leadership, and within that, how to campaign with integrity and concern for others. Each class, Pre-K through third grade, nominated three presidential candidates, and each of those candidates spoke in front of their peers trying to win their vote.These kid-candidates had to consider not just their own priorities, but what mattered to their fellow classmates.Next, came the vote. Each student made his or her selection in secret, dropping their choice for classroom president in a mock “ballot box.” During this activity the children learned that each individual has the opportunity to make a difference in society—they learned that their vote, their opinion, their action could actually bring about change!Finally, after turning in their individual votes, these young students switched roles and began serving as voting day administrators, helping maintain the security and integrity of their class elections by wetting fellow voters’ fingers with ink and stamping them on a sheet of paper as their signature, showing they’d already voted.“In a country as corrupt as Honduras, in which elections are often stolen and there are so few real leaders who act on behalf of the needs of the people, we believe that this activity was very important and a rich learning experience for the students,” said Emily Romero, co-director and co-founder of Jubilee Centers International. “At Jubilee's school students are learning the importance of honesty and integrity in all their ways. We pray that we are planting powerful seeds of change for the future of Honduras through our students.”After electing a president for each grade level, the students choose of those elected a school president. In this race, Axel Matamoros, the 3rd grade president, beat the 1st grade president, Brittany Velasquez, by just one vote. Axel, now serving as both the 3rd grade and school president, has been the top honor student in his class two years in a row now.