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WITH THE commencement of the annual election simulation, the seniors of the school have taken center stage, posing as presidential and congressional candidates as well as representatives of interest groups. The candidates have been busy campaigning and sharing their views with the underclassmen. Ranging from visiting classes to speaking to the voters as well as distributing baked goods, these strategies are designed to capture the attention of the student body.
As a current senior, Samantha Jaloza has discovered benefits in participating in the election stimulation.
“One of the main purposes of the election simulation is to get the school more involved in and [become more] knowledgeable [about] the actual election process. In addition, the seniors are able to apply this context to a real-world situation. Many of the students in the senior class participating in the election simulation will be 18 next year, and will soon have the chance to actually vote, “ Samantha states. By the time students graduate from THHS, they hope to have a deeper understanding of politics and the government in order to make a smart choice.
As seen during previous election stimulations, seniors use distinctive strategies in order to obtain underclassmen votes. Likewise, some of this year’s candidates are following suit. “From freshman year to now, I have realized the best way to hook on students from other grades is by having catchy ads and songs,” said senior Misbah Pochi, who plays Hillary Clinton. Being a household name in this year’s elections, Misbah Pochi must accurately represent Mrs. Clinton in the election stimulation.
It is important to attempt to develop a captivating platform in order to garner attention from students. “I still remember the Craig Caruana songs from freshman year,” she adds.
Other rehashed techniques from past elections include holding bake sales and appearing on the radio show, Talk with the Hawk.
Students also look forward to candidates who go beyond reciting facts related to their campaign. After all, this is able to capture the attention of the audience. “I would love for the candidates to connect better with the voters as people instead of numbers and percentages,” stated junior Melissa King. The candidates plan to do just that in order to appeal to students with similar thoughts to King’s. Senior Michael Schmitt, who plays Robert Ardini, the candidate running for the U.S. House of Representatives, is offering an excused run for one simbuck to physical educator Raymond Adamkiewicz’s band six freshmen PE class.
Another example of this is in the case of senior Reanne Edwards, who plays State Assembly democratic candidate Nily Rozic. She plans to connect to voters by stressing that Rozic is an alumna of Townsend Harris. Despite their busy schedules, the seniors plan to make at least one classroom visit per Friday to introduce themselves to the student body, present their ideas, and answer questions. This allows a sense of reality to the voters and the public is able to get to know the candidates personally.
Senior Raya Kazdan, who plays Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, plans to hold “Green Parties” instead of regular class visits. “We are throwing ‘Green Parties’ in freshmen classrooms where we hand out food and bring balloons to get them excited about our platform,” she said.
The candidates have also taken to social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat, to reach out to all the students of THHS. “We realized that using social media is the best tool we have. A lot of underclassmen recognize me as Hillary Clinton because we have been following a lot of people on Snapchat and Instagram,” said Misbah. Others, such as seniors Sarah Yu and and Daniel Khaldarov who respectively play Grace Meng and Donald Trump, have created websites that display information about their campaigns.
Overall, the candidates recognize the immense work that goes into planning an accessible platform so they can reach the entire student body. Derived directly from the actual 2016 election, students are able to recognize the challenges of political figures. Misbah remarks, “The biggest challenge in reaching all three underclassmen grades in this election is that everyone playing a political figure is doing an amazing job. Everyone is working equally as hard.”