Oakland Junior High Hosts Political Convention
COLUMBIA - Oakland Junior High students welcomed voters to a mock political convention Thursday.
Ninth grade government students divided into groups that represented local, state and national political candidates, then greeted people to their booths to inform them about their candidates' views. Many actual local candidates attended and stood alongside the students, including current 19th District State Sen. Kurt Schaefer and his opponent, State Rep. Mary Still.
Each group researched its candidate's personal and political history, and one group member presented a speech in the front of Oakland's media center. The mock convention allowed the students to interact with voters while learning about the work that goes into a political campaign.
Two months of research and preparation led up to Thursday's convention. Many groups worked directly with their candidates to ensure the information about their opinions was correct. Student Jonathan Rich, a member of the group representing vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, said the project gave him valuable lessons in research and in current events.
"It's interesting just being able to figure out what the candidates believe and how it may or may not affect the future," Rich said.
Teacher Joshua Johnson has run the mock convention since he began teaching at Oakland in 2000.