“ I will be a great president because I care about the people.”
“ You should vote for me because I will help to change education for the better.”
and “ You should vote for me because I will take debt back from China and pay everyone eight-million dollars to go to school.”
These were just some messages ninth grade Enriched American Government students were feeding to fellow classmates to win over votes.
Today ( February 23rd) was just the first day in the process, but may have been one of the most important. Today was the day the Republican/Democratic candidates were chossen.
The students in the class began the day thinking they just had to win over the vote of their classmates, but Social Studies Teacher Todd Manninen threw them for a loop after he told the students they had to win over the votes of other classes.
Students wishing to become a candidate were given five minutes to come up with a two minute speech that could win over a whole class. Democrats and Republicans were sent to two different social studies classrooms where the candidate hopefuls gave their speeches.
Afterwards, the class held an anonymous vote. Each student wrote on a piece of paper the candidate they thought would be the best president. Then the votes were counted.
For the Republican side, Freshman Carter Barton took the win with 17 out of the 22 votes. Barton admitted he was a bit shocked when he won.
“To be honest, I laughed. I had no hope of winning. Originally, I wasn’t even going to run. The only reason I did was because Manninen needed another candidate.”
For the Democrat side, Freshman Sarah Burke came out on top, with 13 out of the 29 votes. Burke was a little less shocked then Carter about her win.
“I was the only democratic candidate originally,” Burke said. “My now-VP Jack Stonecipher and press member Noah Zimmerman volunteered to make up a speech on the fly. Nonetheless, I am pumped about the win.”
Each candidate got to choose a team of four to become their team. The teams consists of one vice president and three campaign team members.
There are also two biased press teams, one favoring each side. Their jobs is to interview candidates, write articles, and take polls.
The last position in this mock election is a special interest group. The group together will decide together what issue they want to debate. The group decided on debating if marijuana should be legal or not. The group then split into a conservative or liberal group, and began research. The special interests group job is to write papers about their side of the argument , and then try to get one (if not both) presidential candidates to support their side of the argument.
In years past, Quest (now enriched american government) students haven’t had a good track record with simulations. Mention any geography simulations and you could send any 9th grade quest student on a hour long rant. But Barton admits this election seems very well put together.
“This process seems very well sorted, it feels very real, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
The election process will take place over 11 days. These days will be packed with debates, interviews, and trying to win over other classrooms voters. At the end of those days students outside of the Quest class will vote, and the winner of the 2016 mock election will be declared on March 3rd.