Students at Miami Lakes Educational Center (MLEC) proved, once again, that young people are not the uninformed, apathetic generation people make them out to be. The Harbinger and Junior State of America (JSA) hosted a mock gubernatorial debate and a mock senatorial debate four days before Election Day. The audience, composed of English and social studies classes, was more than interested. They were involved.
MLEC’s Junior Statesmen of America club (JSA) and the Journalism students teamed up to create this interactive event. Valeria Bula, editor-in-chief of The Harbinger and JSA president moderated the event. Members of JSA represented the major candidates’ platforms in both the senatorial and gubernatorial race.
It was an interactive debate. The candidates gave their opening remarks before answering the moderator’s questions, which ranged from the economy and education to gun rights and the environment. Throughout the debate, students were encouraged to take to Twitter and post their questions using the hashtag #MLECdebates. Some of those questions were asked from the live Twitter desk.
The system was so popular that the debate’s hashtag was used over 280 times.
“The governor debate was very enthusiastic, relevant, and interactive,” said JSA member Esther Alexandre, a senior in the Information Technology academy. “Matthew really brought out his A game as DeSantis. He was hitting all of the facts.”
Other students lined up at the microphones to ask their questions directly.
“A lot of questions asked were good ones that I never thought to ask. It was a good experience,” said Maika Talabert, a senior in Information Technology.
The debate went on until the very last moment. Until the lunch bell ended the period, leaving several students upset that they did not have an opportunity to ask their questions. The intensity was visible at the polls.
During lunch, students were encouraged to vote. Student Government officers and journalism students were on hand to provide students with a ballot. Students were able to go into a private voting booth and then cast their ballots, dropping it in the ballot box when they were done.
In the end, voter turnout was 52% with 615 votes cast. MLEC students would have elected Andrew Gillum to be Florida’s next candidate; he won 67% of the votes. Senator Bill Nelson won re-election with 63% of MLEC’s votes.
Source:: The Harbinger