December 29, 2022
In November and December of 2022, twenty-two 12th grade students, under the watchful guidance of teacher Mrs. Rachel Humphrey, busily prepped and learned their responsibilities for the mock presidential election. Each presidential and vice presidential candidate of both parties had a campaign manager and speech writer. For running mate of the conservative Purple Party, Bubba Johnson, this learning experience gave him insights and a different perspective in the process of campaigning. “This was outside of my comfort zone – getting up in front of people with the purpose of convincing people to do something,” he explains. Beyond this class project, he says he has no plans of getting into politics.
Conservative running mate Bubba Johnson campaigning to his schoolmates
Both parties created marketing posters for their classmates and disseminated videos using Google classrooms to promote their platforms. Liberal Gold Party speechwriter Anna Humphrey also has no interest in politics, but admitted to enjoying the process where she’s had to clarify her thoughts, while hearing other people’s thoughts and views. As the conservative Purple Party’s speech writer, Ella Brown noted, “it’s been a good exercise in expressing my beliefs, and seeing how much compromise is done [in real life] for the betterment of the American people.”
The candidates (when they weren’t sick at home!), and their campaign managers made in-classroom visits to various classes promoting their agendas. The lobbyists joined in with helping make buttons for distribution. In a show of friendship from lobbyists to each party’s team, everyone sat together at the same table to make buttons for their candidate.
Opposing running mates, Kevin Liu and Bubba Johnson share a joke
The two tickets ran on five platform issues; while eight students played the role of lobbyists representing conservative and liberal interest groups with stakes in those specific issues – inflation, law and order, climate, healthcare, and education.
The student lobbyists would not disclose any of the financial agreements with this writer, keeping their contracts private, but acknowledged that they had provided monies to the parties who had agreed to use certain phrasing in their campaigning.
Two students acted as the Federal Election Commissioners, keeping track of campaign spending and approving campaign ads. Leah Zallee noted that they did not allow ad hominem attacks, which are ads that attacked on personal character - no slander was permitted.
Federal Commissioner Leah Zallee chats with conservative campaign manager Christina Rabe
And of course, there was a media team of four students who conducted polls, wrote articles, organized a press conference and moderated the final debate that was attended by the Jr/Sr High school students – all the students had an opportunity to vote using the Electoral College process. The student body was divided by class periods to represent 17 states. The team used Google forms to poll, survey and communicate with the school community. Media team member, Jacquelyne Nguyen, acknowledged it was a challenge trying to be unbiased especially when dealing with a broad range of beliefs! The media team produced a couple of newsletters (introducing the candidates, promoting their press conference and then later the debate).
Liberal party speech writer Anna Humphrey ponders her work while the Jacquelynne Nguyen and Jordan Curtis of the media team work on their laptop
One of the team’s polling found that, “Even though climate change is a 50/50 vote, all states [third period classes] are set on their beliefs and are distinct from each other. Various classes have a majority in favor or against climate change action. Most of the population wants lower taxes but wants the government to pay for most of it. Is there really a way to make both things possible?”
The media team issued their final Google newsletter to the student body the following news on December 9, 2022:
Gold party presidential candidate, Frederick Pittman shakes hands and concedes with newly elected President, Danielle Buckenmeyer.
Following the election results, the gold party presidential candidate, Frederick Pittman concedes and congratulates his opponent on winning the election. To concede means to publicly acknowledge the winning candidate in a race after the votes are finalized. The race this time around was very close in that the last two states leaned towards the purple vote because of one vote.
President Buckenmeyer says, “Thank you everyone for your support! Major slay.”
Gold party presidential candidate Pittman says, “I’d like to thank my loyal supporters and thank you for this opportunity!”
Teacher and Junior High Student Council Advisor, Mrs. Kristen Caldwell shared that several junior high students during their Student Council meeting after the announcement, “cited the mock election as a reason that they want to come to PC for high school!”
PCS is thrilled to know these projects and activities which expose our students to real life challenges, and help them think through issues in a safe environment is what is growing future Christian leaders!
Conservative Purple Party
Presidential Candidate: Danielle Buckenmeyer
Vice Presidential Candidate: Bubba Johnson
Speechwriter: Ella Brown
Campaign Manager: Christine Rabe
From left: Bubba Johnson, Ella Brown, Danielle Buckenmeyer, Christina Rabe
Liberal Gold Party
Presidential Candidate: Fred Pittman
Vice Presidential Candidate: Kevin Liu
Speech Writer: Anna Humphrey
Campaign Manager: Ivana Prokopenko
From left: Anna Humphrey, Fred Pittman, Kevin Liu, Ivana Prokopenko
Federal Election Commissioners
Written by Grace Dugger