The Denver Post: Populist promises, identity politics and stemwinders: Eighth-graders run for office

Ose Okhihan, 13, front left, celebrates his winning the eighth grade student body presidential race of Aurora Quest K-8 held at Pickens Technical College. Photo credit: Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Story excerpt:

"Leading up to Election Day, the polls had Alejandro Salazar — an eighth-grader in a slim gray suit with a backpack full of talking points on bullying, gun violence and immigration — in the lead among his peers.

The unknown factor, however, was how much support one of his challengers, Ose Okhihan — an athlete running on a populist platform to expand student council and create new 'privileges' for elementary grade students — had from those in the lower grades.

And then there was Nikki Salazar, no relation to Alejandro. She was the potential spoiler in the field to lead the 599 students, who launched her campaign on the promise of curbing 'drama.'

This is what democracy looked like when 82 eighth-graders at Aurora Quest K-8 school were asked to simulate the real world of politics over a four-week period to elect a new student leader — and earn a grade in their social studies class."