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THS Election Convention promotes democratic understanding
THS election pic1
Spirit Leader candidates Elijah Mays and Trevor Hollbrook rock out during their skit before delegates at the THS Associated Student Body Election. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

Most high school student body elections are fairly simple. The school has a rally and each candidate speaks, maybe throw in a skit, and then the student body returns to their homeroom and fills out ballots.

But at Turlock High School student body elections are far from the mundane. On Friday, more than 400 students participated in an all-day election process for five student body officers. The process is modeled after an actual party convention.

Student Leadership Advisor Jennifer Cullum said the convention model started in 1990, and it consists of delegates voting for candidates as opposed to the popular vote. In the past school election rules mandated that a candidate win by a 70 percent majority — a nearly impossible task.

Delegates are selected in history classes and the students represent certain states. Some states hold more delegates than others. On convention day student body candidates perform skits, give speeches and try to secure delegate votes during caucuses by sending out campaign managers and friends to lobby for them.

Cullum said the convention is “super-unique” for a high school student body election.

This year 14 students battled for five officer positions:  school board representative, spirit leaders, secretary, treasurer, president and vice president.

THS junior Peter DiGrazio won the election for school board rep.

“All of my life I’ve been the type of person to move from clique to clique. I ran because I wanted to represent everyone on campus. On the board I will vote in favor of the students,” he said.

Stanislaus County Office of Education Superintendent Tom Changnon was the keynote speaker of the convention. He encouraged students to continue civic involvement as they grew into adults.

For the time being however, teens will be teens. Skits at the convention had a strong comedy theme. Candidates also had to present short videos answering why they would be the best officer.