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Holley students stage presidential debates with a final showdown on Nov. 1

Provided photos: These Holley students have been doing mock presidential debates with another one scheduled for Nov. 1. The students include from left: Alex Mounts (Gary Johnson), Kayla Thrower (Hillary Clinton) and Glenn Thrower (Donald Trump).

Posted 28 October 2016 at 12:50 pm

Press Release, Holley Central School

HOLLEY – The Holley Current Events class invites the public to a mock presidential debate on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Holley Middle School/High School Auditorium. This debate is the final debate in a series of three that students Kayla Thrower (as Democrat Hillary Clinton), Glenn Thrower (as Republican Donald Trump) and Alex Mounts (as Libertarian Gary Johnson) competed in during October.

Alex Mounts portrays Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate.

Alex Mounts portrays Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate.

The entire Current Events class will be available at the end of the final debate to conduct a Q&A session with the audience.

During the series of mock presidential debates, Current Events students were assigned the roles of presidential candidates, presidential advisors or moderators. The candidates worked with their advisors to prepare for each debate. MS/HS students, staff and faculty were invited to attend the debates at the end of the day on Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 in the MS/HS Auditorium. The audience completed ballots to determine the winner of each debate. A panel of six teachers and three moderators also completed ballots after each debate.

Current Events Teacher Nick D’Amuro was pleased with the support from the audience.

“I am so happy to hear from teachers and students that they are excited about these debates and the election,” said D’Amuro. “I am so excited that our students are going above and beyond to discuss the current political climate.”

Glenn Thrower portrays Republican Donald Trump.

Glenn Thrower portrays Republican Donald Trump.

District Superintendent Robert D’Angelo agrees.

“Nick and his students did an outstanding job with each and every debate,” said D’Angelo. “I was very proud to attend them and was impressed with the number of students and staff in the audience each time. This activity was a perfect example of authentic instruction and learning. I am confident that our students’ knowledge of both the political issues surrounding this presidential election as well as our political process have been greatly enhanced by these debates.”

The students prepared for five weeks to impersonate the candidates, adopting much of their personas and mannerisms. They debated issues such as immigration, terrorism, war, gun laws, health care, free trade, jobs and taxes.

Moderators were senior McKenzie Hendrickson and juniors Jessica Sedore and Hanna Waterman. These students kept the candidates on task while D’Amuro kept track of time. Because students were instructed to vote for the candidate who had the best argument at each debate, the results varied.

Kayla Thrower makes a point as Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate.

Kayla Thrower makes a point as Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party candidate.

After the first debate, Alex (as Johnson) was the winner of the popular vote with 75 votes, while Kayla (Clinton) was the winner of the panel vote with seven votes. After the second debate, Glenn (Trump) was the winner of the popular vote with 61 votes and Alex (Johnson) was the winner of the panel vote with four votes.

“The students in our district tend to lean towards the ideals of Trump on several subjects,” said D’Amuro. “However, the other candidates did such an excellent job with their arguments that I think students, along with teachers, really kept an open mind. In our political system, many voters make up their minds before November rolls around, based on their own opinions, so to see teachers and students really thinking about their choices was excellent.”

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