For 8 years, AP US and Comparative Government classes have been creating political platforms, mounting their campaigns, electing a teacher sponsor, and competing against their classmates in student elections. However with Dual Enrollment Government becoming a new class this year, the elections took a turn, and became a competition between the two courses.
“The candidate committees are very competitive.” said AP Government sponsor, Mrs. Valeria Austin.
“I think the students get more out of it bringing it across the school,” said Dual Enrollment sponsor, Mr. Daniel Kim. “This project is just another way to use the personalized learning across the school.”
Before Thanksgiving break, students in AP and Dual enrollment government classes continued the same curriculum; creating a platform and running against students in their block. All different types of parties emerged, from fascist societies to capitalistic realms.
“I was surprised at the number of fascist societies in the classes,” said Austin.
“I like that we gave the students free reign on the platforms,” added Kim. “They became more moderate among the general election to weed out the extremist.”
However what the seniors did not know, was that those were just the primary elections. There were five teachers that came out of the elections within the classes, one winner from each class, and they took their platforms to the school. Five candidates advanced out of the AP and Dual Government classes which include: Mr. Brandon Wheelbarger, Mrs. Angelin Daniel, Mrs. Somer Crawford, Mr. Matthew Crisp, and Kim. Wheels has been on the ballot every year, but has yet to win within a classroom. This year on the presidential ballot, he believed that it could be different.
“I would like to thank Spencer Anderson, Sam Galletta, and Ben Pauly for running this amazing campaign,” said Wheels. “This was a project that I wish I could have done as a student, and to see the students getting into it is really great.”
Daniel has worked at Tuscarora for the past couple of years, and was excited about the opportunity to become the first president of Tuscarora.
“I really enjoyed running in this campaign,” said Daniel. “It’s a big deal for me that the students would pick me for this. We will make Tuscarora shine.”
Mrs. Crawford runs the Student Council at Tuscarora, and was happy to have made it through the primaries and was thankful for her campaign committee.
“It has been very easy on my part for this campaign.” said Crawford. “You always want to win, and I would like to thank Brecan Saul, Maria Schense and Alyssa Longo for coordinating this.”
Crisp has been on the ballot and won an election every year since his hiring and was excited about a new challenge of a general presidential election.
“I would like to thank my campaign committee [and] my campaign team for making me look as good as possible. I like that we ran a nice clean campaign for the school.”
Kim won his primaries in an interesting way, just narrowly beating Mr. Carl Opauski and without a campaign video, flyer, or poster.
“I don’t expect to win,” said Kim. “If early voting is an indication, I probably won’t win.”
On November 29th and 30th, students voted in their history classes to see which teacher will be the president for the school. They had the opportunity to to look at posters, flyers, and campaign videos to make a decision on who they vote for in the election.
‘’I like this campaign and project a lot,” said Dual Enrollment Government student Kati Russell. “This was a little crazy and people got really into it.”
However, not only was this just a competition between the teachers; students also involved in government as early as freshman year. For the past few years, only the juniors and seniors have voted for candidates, but this year the freshmen and sophomores were involved, which better prepares them for their future campaigns.
“If we continue to hold an election each year, that means they will be participating three years before they get to government classes,” Austin added. “By their senior year, they will be familiar with the process, and hopefully then, they will become more aware, and [know] how to participate.”
After the votes were counted in this year’s AP vs DE election, the winner was eighth blocks’ candidate, Crisp, for AP Government. The second place finisher was Wheelbarger. Crisp had 278 electoral college votes compared to Wheelbarger’s 242. Crisp also finished ahead with the popular vote, as he had 448 votes compared to 308 votes for Wheels.
Mr. Crisp is happy about his victory, and looks forward to next year.
“It feels tremendous to not only be elected president in a class, but for the entire school and I would to thank everyone who voted for me. We learned how to run a clean campaign, a solid platform and promises that we intend to keep,” said Crisp.