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North Oldham students debate the issues

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By The Staff

Advanced Placement government and politics students at North Oldham High School are not only learning about the political system, they are living it as well. Following their intensive study of political parties, the nomination process, campaigning and elections, two AP government classes had the opportunity to apply their understanding of the political process. Two competing classes created their own political parties (The United Republicrats and The Party of 5), wrote party platforms, designed a campaign, recorded radio advertising, filmed a television commercial and prepared to debate a variety of relevant political issues in front of their peers. Although the election was intended as a fun way to engage students politically, it quickly became an intense rivalry between the two parties. Each party generated polling data to determine strengths and weaknesses and critiques the opponent’s party platform and political campaign. AP government instructor Craig Grimm said he believes “allowing the students to run a comprehensive campaign of their own not only endorses their understanding of the process, but also develops their appreciation for the political campaigning that takes place on local, state and national levels.” And the spirit of competition certainly adds motivation to the process. As a final effort to sway voters, both parties were given the opportunity to debate various political issues in front of the school throughout the day. Each block garnered 100 to 150 students, all with an opportunity to have their own voices heard through questioning of the candidates and through voting for the candidates (or party) that presented the most effective approach to progress and change. Andrew Kangpan ran as the presidential candidate for the United Republicrats, while Zach Motes was the candidate for The Party of 5. In the end, after more than two-thirds of the student body voted, the United Republicrats were awarded victory by only the slimmest of margins (less than 2 percent), reinforcing the reality that every vote counts, and that teenage political involvement is even more important than ever. North Oldham AP government students have walked a mile in those political shoes, and will hopefully continue to promote not only the process, but participation in the process as well.