Let’s get political

Clubs participate in Presidential debate viewing party


Dawson Kelley

The Young Democrats (left) and Young Republicans (right) gather in Hunter Davis’ classroom to watch the presidential debate. The debate was televised on Monday, Sept. 26.

Story by Joseph Rodgers, staff writer

Last minute preparations are made as notecards are gathered, glasses are filled with water and sweat is removed by makeup teams. Thousands of miles away, debate-enthusiasts fill their solo cups with Coke as they prepare to watch the grand spectacle. Some students are equipped with “Make America Great Again” signs that face the undying cheers and squabbles of the students on the opposite side of the room.

On Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton debated with Republican nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University in New York. Back at home, the political clubs gathered together to watch the CNN coverage of the first presidential debate as they prepared to support their candidate.

“This is unprecedented for our school because this is the first time we have ever hosted an event like this,” senior Tye Shelton said. “I am the president of the Young Democrats, and it’s the first time in five years that we have had the club and held offices. It is also the first time we have had a debate watching party and I think this is appropriate just because it is such a critical election in our nation’s history.”

The event was held in teacher Hunter Davis’ room and the presence of 60 students filled his room to capacity. It also doubled as a way to measure the interest in political events in our school.

“It gives students an opportunity to actually understand what politics is all about and what it entails,” Shelton said. “Most of the time, teenagers regard politics as big-headed people talking about complex things that are only understood by your parents. This just demonstrates that politics is actually a real-life issue that affects our generation and is comprehensible.”

Teachers Lance Kyles and Davis both sponsored the event along with the political clubs and are pleased with the turnout of the debate-viewing party. They both feel that the election is significant for teenagers because it will be world that students grow up in.

“The students watching the debate here on campus really put some energy into the room because they are with their friends,” Kyles said. “It also allows them to eliminate all distractions that social media causes so they can tune in on what the candidates are saying. Their cheers and boos heightened their attention spans and interest in the quotes from their two competing nominees. Overall, it just made it seem that politics are actually cool and this event really brought it down to the students.”

Due to the successful turnout, more political related events are slated in the future as interest was clearly shown. The ultimate goal is to get students to realize how politics will affect their lives and the careers that they will go into.

“I think that students following other students is a theme in high school,” Davis said. “Now they realize that politics has an effect on them and they actually care about it. For the future, there is a cohesive effort to get more events planned and we are currently in the process of forming a Young Independents club.”

Election wise, many people feel that this election is unique and that it will have unique consequences on our fellow citizens and our nation.

“It’s pretty interesting and awesome to be a part of,” Shelton said. “This is our generation, our future, and this is the world that we are going to grow up in. This is the most critical and influential time of our lives and we are here deciding who our future leader will be.”