In a high school class plastered in red, white and blue and decorated with campaign signs, government teacher Patti McCaffrey talks to her mostly 17-year-old students about the importance of voting.”People are saying that this election is probably the most important election in 40 years,” McCaffrey told her class. “I had a former student call me over the weekend asking about this election, and I said ‘You were never interested in politics.'”Almost all of the students in McCaffrey’s senior government class at Tahoe Truckee High School aren’t old enough to vote. However, they still see value in being informed. “Eventually we’re going to have to vote, so it’s important that we know this stuff,” senior Sky Lewis said Monday.McCaffrey’s students might be more informed about this “stuff” than most. Last week students from Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline high schools put on “An Evening of Politics” in the Truckee High auditorium. Students and their parents packed the halls to learn about local, regional and statewide ballot issues and then filled the auditorium to watch a student-run mock presidential debate.In the moderated mock debate – which included a student standing in for Ralph Nader – 15 students dressed in suits to represent each candidate on one of five issues.
At a table outside the auditorium, Truckee High senior Kyle Dennison answered questions about Proposition 62. The initiative would give all California voters, regardless of party affiliation, the same primary election ballot for state and federal offices, excluding the presidential primary, and the top two winners would appear on the general election ballot.Many people, mostly parents, approached his table to ask about the ballot measure.”For some reason a lot of people decided they need to know about primary elections,” he said.Even though the senior government class of 2004 has most likely done more work than the class of ’03 thanks to this election, Dennison said the experience has been worth it.”Actually being there and interacting with everybody, it’s a good way to get involved in the election process,” said the 17 year old. “I’ve never really gotten into the whole election process. It really just brings it to life. It was worth it. I’m just more informed.”For the next couple weeks, students in McCaffrey’s class will continue to learn about America’s electoral process by polling locals on their political opinions, taking to task the media coverage of the campaigns and dissecting political advertising.And even though most of these students won’t be turning out to the polls on Nov. 2, they still have their opinions.
“Vote Bush,” Lewis said. “That’s all I have to say: Vote Bush.”Check it outA tape of Tahoe Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline high schools’ mock presidential debate will appear on Truckee Tahoe Community Television Channel 6 on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 31 at 8:30 p.m.Mock debateThe following are the results from the mock presidential debate at Tahoe Truckee High School on Oct. 21. Students came from Jennifer Joroski’s class at North Tahoe High, Milton Hyams’ class at Incline High and Patti McCaffrey and Nick Frititta’s classes at Truckee High. Each student who participated in the debate represented a candidate on one of five issues. These are the winners:
IssueWinnerCandidateSchoolEconomyTara KingKerryTruckee HighHealth CareMargarita SalazarKerryIncline HighEnvironmentKyle AdamsBushTruckee HighForeign Policy (a draw)Michael FitzgeraldKerryNorth TahoeEmily LawrenceNaderTruckee HighEducationSeamus BreenNaderTruckee High
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