Taylor Parker–It’s not easy being an 8th grader. But it’s also not easy teaching 8th graders, a point the Junior Fellows recently discovered when they went to Mance Park Middle School to discuss presidential politics with 400+ 8th graders.
With November 6th rapidly approaching, the event couldn’t have been better timed. The engaged students worked together to tackle ‘Presidential Trivia’ and other various games surrounding United States political history, often resulting in celebratory cheers and hi-fives. The history teachers at Mance Park do a great job–we worked most closely with Jamie Lorenz and Coach Ermis–and they divided their groups into storm-related teams: Tornados, Blizzards, and Typhoons. The Blizzards probably edged out the Tornados for the most knowledgeable of the bunch.
After discussing our nation’s history, the presentation shifted to present-day politics, focusing on the upcoming election. Taking a neutral stance, the organization showed where each candidate stood on various issues, allowing the students to establish their own opinions. To finish up the afternoon, the Fellows took a few questions and helped the students understand the current and historical electoral landscape.
We hope the Mance Park students enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the political system. It’s a chance I didn’t have in Middle School, and I think that civic education among young people can make a large difference.
Of course, the day made a difference for us, too–it was enjoyable teaching others things we care about, and we hope that the students will develop a passion for politics and grow into a new generation of educated voters.