Students from Carrick’s four post primary schools are getting a early glimpse of a life in politics as part of the local authority’s junior council.
The 12-strong group, which includes Downshire pupil Faith Clarke as Junior Mayor and Carrick College student Sam Rodgers as Deputy, were selected for the roles in April as part of a new project.
Carrick Council’s Good Relations officer Fiona Surgenor explained: “It’s a reasonably new project; it started off initially as a process to elect a junior mayor and deputy and out of that it has grown into a project whereby we have elected a junior council.
“Originally there were 16 seats for four pupils from each school, but some pupils had to drop out so we now have 12 young people between the ages of 13 and 15. The idea is to have them feeding into the decision-making process in the council.
To be in with a chance of being elected, students had to present their case to teachers and council representatives. “This work is always secondary to their academic responsibilities but they really are very dedicated and very involved in their local communities,” Fiona added.
“Since their selection, the young members of the group have underwent training with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, which teaches them about all sorts of things from how to run a council and how to speak in public to lobbying. They are also asked to appear at events, such as the opening of the royal family exhibition.”