Students at Tinian Elementary School elected a new set of officers for this year and named their two highest officials “governor” and “lieutenant governor” in a bid to given their students a real-life experience of the voting process.
Sixth-grader Kianalin Lizama got the overwhelming support of her peers and was named last week as the school's new governor, while Hannah Biton, also a sixth-grader, was elected lieutenant governor.
The two officers, along with members of the “Legislature,” were sworn into office by Tinian Mayor Ramon M. Dela Cruz and members of the Tinian Legislative Delegation headed by chair Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian).
In their speeches, both Lizama and Biton shared their plans for the school year, which include improving the students' reading skills by having read-alouds in the primary grade, encouraging students to borrow more books from the library, and engaging in “Drop Everything and Read” time before or after their break.
They will also focus on campus beautification by encouraging a weekly campus cleanup every Friday, promoting physical activity through weekly walks around the school's perimeter fence, and daily physical activities. Each of them reiterated the importance of encouraging students to pay more attention in class and to stop fooling around. They hope to do this through the “Virtues Project,” which is the school's character education program.
School principal Dionne B. Santos told Saipan Tribune that the students participated in the annual election of officers for the Student Government Organization in September
They went through a voter's registration process and student candidates had to file their intent to run for office and hold a campaign.
Santos said 87 percent of the student body registered to vote before the election on Oct. 12.
The students elected 14 student leaders representing their respective grade-levels in the “House of Representatives,” seven representing their grade-levels in the “Senate,” a “mayor,” “lieutenant governor,” and “governor” who represent the entire student body.
Last Friday, students, teacher, parents, and guests witnessed the newly elected student leaders inducted into office.
In her opening remarks, Santos addressed the purpose of the student government organization by relating it to Tinian Elementary School's vision that “Upon leaving Tinian Elementary School, all students will be responsible, resourceful, and ready.”
She explained that students are expected to make responsible and sound decisions, be resourceful to cultivate the means to achieve their goals, and ultimately be ready with the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for the next level.
“It is the goal of the Student Government Organization to prepare our youth for leadership roles and responsibilities in the 21st century,” she said.
Board of Education representative Lucia Blanco-Maratita reiterated the “3Rs” in the school's vision (responsible, resourceful, and ready). She explained that, as student leaders, their jobs are not necessarily to tell people what to do but, more importantly, they need to be good listeners and lead by example.