Before graduation this past spring, my granddaughter was in a school political debate.Â It just came out in an article in the Stars & Stripes a newspaper for all branches of the military.Â She just graduated with honors and will start college in the states this fall.Â She will be going to college in Tampa, Fl. while her family has just been re-stationed in Italy.Â I am very proud of her and just wanted to share this with you.Â Her name is Kaneesha Heath and she took the part of Ralph Nader in the debate.
ÂStudents practice political process with mock elections
By Fred Zimmerman, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Friday, November 5, 2004
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa - Some Department of Defense Dependents Schools throughout the Pacific gave students an opportunity to let their voices be heard during the presidential election, even though it didn't count.
More than 10 schools - elementary, junior and high schools - held mock elections at some point during the past week to see which candidate students prefer. At least three schools overwhelmingly voted to keep President Bush in office for four more years. Results were not immediately available for the remainder.
At Kadena High School, the incumbent topped Sen. John Kerry in a landslide, 445 to 196. Ralph Nader received 50 votes, while eight students wrote in Al Sharpton and one student wanted to see Meryl Streep in the White House. Almost 81 percent of the 869 students at the school participated in the vote.
The day began with mock candidates squaring off in a debate during two assemblies - one for freshmen and sophomores, another for juniors and seniors. Freshmen students portrayed the three candidates during the first assembly: Keifer Robinson was Kerry, Kerry Coubough was Bush and Kaneesha Heath played Nader. Seniors Marita Andrade, Francesca Schneider and Misha Davis, respectively, played the three candidates during the second debate.
During both debates, the "candidates" fielded questions their fellow students had prepared. Topics ranged from the economy to health care and the global war on terrorism to unemployment.
Government teacher Gil Mueller arranged the debates and mock election at Kadena. He said the student candidates researched each candidate's views and political stances. Several practice debates were held before Wednesday's finale.
"I think the students did very well," Mueller said. "Their answers were parallel to those of the actual candidates ... it was a striking similarity."