12/03/2014 07:09 EST | Updated 02/02/2015 05:59 EST

Halifax high school teacher wins award for promoting political participation

HALIFAX - A Halifax high school teacher who encouraged his students to create a club to debate current political issues in Canada has won a national award for promoting political participation.

Tim Halman, who teaches political science at Dartmouth High School, received the Everyday Political Citizen of the Year award in a ceremony in Halifax on Wednesday.

The prize is presented by Samara Canada, a charity that promotes increased public involvement in politics.

Halman organized visits by local federal candidates to speak to students during the last general election.

After those visits, he challenged students to find ways to become more engaged in politics.

He then assisted students in creating a politics club that began meeting weekly to discuss political issues.

"As civics and social science teachers, we are given the responsibility of ensuring that youth are knowledgeable about civics and the mechanics of government," Halman, 37, said in a copy of a speech provided before the event.

Robert Chisholm, the NDP MP for the Dartmouth-Cole Harbour riding, nominated Halman after visiting his students.

"Halman's students are educated in a dynamic and comprehensive way that could only be possible with the energy and passion of a great teacher," he said in his nomination statement.

Samara Canada says it received more than 350 submissions. Seventeen judges from across the country, including CBC personality Rick Mercer, NHL defenceman Grant Clitsome and Edmonton Coun. Michael Walters selected a short list from the nominations collected.

Eleven-year-old Nessa Deans of Edmonton was chosen as the Youth Everyday Political Citizen of the Year.

Nessa has volunteered for a series of local political campaigns, attends city council meetings and keeps a poster of all the Canadian prime ministers in her room.

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