Students throughout the Amityville Union Free School District were actively engaged in this year’s presidential election.
At Edmund W. Miles Middle School, students in the pre-Advanced Placement Human Geography course recently took part in mock debates. They were divided into teams representing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and spent two weeks researching the candidates’ positions on several topics, including women’s issues, economy and trade, immigration, foreign policy, terrorism and the environment. The students then presented their arguments at a pair of debates on Oct. 26 and 27 in the library.
Each debate included opening and closing statements, questions from the moderators and opportunities for rebuttal. Students were judged by a panel of teachers and administrators and critiqued on their strength of their arguments.
Social studies chairwoman Jaclyn O’Hagan and teacher Jack Zider, who served as the moderators, said the purpose of the assignment was to teach students about the importance of backing up their opinions with facts and evidence while enhancing their communication skills. The teachers were impressed with the passion and enthusiasm shown by the students as they presented their cases.
A mock election was held at the school on Nov. 7, with students choosing between the two candidates during their lunch periods.
At Amityville Memorial High School, students from the Advanced Placement government classes became experts in Republican and Democratic ideals. They were each assigned a candidate and researched that person’s stance on various issues such as foreign policy, immigration, health care and economics. The students then split into pairs and visited social studies classes throughout the day on Nov. 4.
Each debate featured opening statements as well as questions from teachers and students, often leading to spirited back-and-forth dialogue. The debaters identified themselves only as Candidate A and Candidate B, so students would cast their votes in a mock election on Nov. 7 solely based on the candidates’ ideals.
Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School also hosted a mock election. The teachers taught their students about the electoral process and how to respectfully disagree with one another. At all three schools, it was a landslide victory for Clinton.