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On Tuesday, November 2, major decisions were made in Los Angeles, California, the United States and at Stephen S. Wise Elementary School. All across the country people were exercising their democratic rights as they went to the polls to select new leaders and laws. By participating in a similar process we are preparing our students for their role as a future voting citizen of our country. We selected our leaders at a wonderful assembly where the student council candidates delivered their speeches to a captive audience of 2nd – 6th grade students. Each candidate talked about why they would be a responsible officer and the ideas they had to improve our school. The speeches were well written and well delivered, and our students had the difficult decision of selecting the new officers. I want to congratulate Kayla Cohen (President), Pasha Rahimian (Vice President), Kobi Hekmat-Niaz (Treasurer), and Andie Gilder (Historian). In addition to school officers, each class voted for their student council representative and alternate. Following the intense vote, the students received an “I Voted” sticker and were excited for the final results.
While the election itself was a wonderful learning experience, what makes it unique at Stephen S. Wise is the opportunity it provided for integration with our Judaic values. We began the assembly with the “Shehehiyanu” thanking God for allowing us to reach this special day. We talked about how this was a “Kodesh Moment” and that we were elevating ourselves and our community by participating in the process. And finally, at the end of the day when we announced the winners, each candidate was gracious in both winning and losing, and made sure that all of the students felt good about their participation. I finished the day by thinking that our country could learn some life lessons by hanging out at our playground, because we are truly teaching our kids how to do things the right way.