WESTFIELD, NJ — A United States presidential election only happens once every four years and the students at Holy Trinity School are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the U.S. government, the pressing issues of today’s society, and politics. Over the last several weeks, a group of eighth graders led by Ryan Bergh-Thies has formed a club for those students interested in politics. The club has hung posters throughout the school conveying each candidate’s stance on various issues. Last week a “voter registration” day was held.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th, grade students produced and participated in an election assembly including a mock presidential debate. Similar to all Holy Trinity School assemblies, the students opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Isabela Allen and Ben Abood. The prayer focused on giving strength and guidance to our next United States President whomever he or she may be.
An introduction by Jack Hicks explained each candidate’s position on the main issues of the campaign. Moderators Michael Price and Sebastian Ubillus kicked off the debate with the help of Jack Chase as the official timer. The candidates, enacted by Carley Venezia as Hillary Clinton and Alec Bergh-Thies as Donald Trump, were asked questions related to foreign policy, gun control, and immigration. The responses to the prepared questions were researched and validated by the students.
At the conclusion of the debate, Martha Byrne reminded the students of the voting procedures for the mock election being held on Nov. 2, The Union County Board of Elections has provided Holy Trinity with a voting machine and advisors for their election so that the students can have the real experience of voting just as many will do on November 8. This activity was organized by Alec Bergh-Thies, Alexandra Ahlbeck, and Jeremy Bonnell.
“I really enjoy politics and wanted a way to share my interest with others," Ryan Bergh-Thies commented.
Michael Price, a fellow 8th grader, said, “In such a heated and controversial election, students need to understand what each candidate really stands for. I think we all need a non-partisan factual source more than ever.”
Since 1916, Holy Trinity has provided a quality Catholic education to Westfield and the surrounding communities. A 2011 National Blue Ribbon School, its mission is to educate students to actualize their full, individual potential both spiritually and academically.