Most people probably don’t know that Marylanders are more tech-savvy than people from other states and that New Yorkers are more enthusiastic. Or that Floridians enter assemblies dressed in sunshine hats, while Michiganders do the train. Most people, in other words, didn't attend the HIES Middle School Mock Convention last Friday, where students put their own, unique spin on the electoral process.
Led by History teacher Mr. Gary Klingman
, the Mock Convention took students through the steps of nominating a presidential candidate. This year, since the Republican party holds the White House, the Democratic candidates vied for the Middle School nomination. As Mr. Klingman explains, "We always use the party not in the White House – because you won't have an incumbent or vice president running which could limit the field. Even though this year's primary season was interesting on both sides, we stuck to the rules that have always worked in the past."
Therefore, chosen to vie for the nomination were candidates Hillary Clinton (Sarah Venable
), John Edwards (Clint Dolan
) and Barack Obama (Jaya McFarland
). In the days leading up to the event, the politicians gave speeches, shook hands and looked for babies to kiss as the delegation mulled their choices. After a hard-fought campaign, Barack Obama took nearly 60% of the students' vote to become the official HIES Convention candidate.
At the convention itself, delegates filled the gym floor as state-songs blared amid red, white and blue bunting. State reps then took the microphone, voicing the obligatory odes to their home states before announcing to whom they had given their support. Once the results had been announced, Senators Clinton and Edwards conceded while Mr. Obama proudly accepted the nomination of (her) party.
Two guest speakers also took turns at the podium. Mrs. Jan Hackney
, who hopes to become a delegate to this summer's convention in Denver, told of her own experience running twice for Congress at the behest of her children, a perfect example of the unlimited potential of the American political system.
The other guest speaker, Mr. Jason Cecil
of the Georgia Young Democrats, apparently missed the memo that the mock convention is designed to teach process as opposed to philosophy, and chose to deliver a fire and brimstone speech against the current administration. Fortunately, Mr. Klingman and the rest of the Holy Innocents' faculty have taught our students to think for themselves and Mr. Cecil's passion served as little more than a political curio when all was said and done.
“All in all, I think it was a successful program,” said Mr. Klingman about the convention. “The students not only learned the process but were 100% involved. They played the roles of candidates, campaign managers, delegates and voters; they wrote the speeches; they generated their own platforms and they learned all the roles of an election. When we do it again in four years, hopefully they’ll come back and provide insight to the next group.”
For more photographs of the event, click HERE.
And watch for upcoming video!