Greenville High School government students produce candidate forum

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:19 am on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Greenville High School students, from left, junior Jered Milner, 17, senior Louis Salak, 17, junior Zane Cruz, 16 and junior Seth Davis, 16, take notes during the question and answer session for local political candidates at the MCC Ash Technology and Learning Center in Greenville Tuesday night while fellow students (to the right) help assist the moderators during the session. — Daily News/Cory Smith

GREENVILLE — Students from Greenville High School’s advanced placement government class had another successful candidate forum Tuesday night.

For the past three years, students from Tim O’Brien’s government class have put together and facilitated a candidate forum to help voters become more familiar with issues on the ballot, as well as to give voters a chance to meet the candidates.

This year, the candidate forum was held at the Montcalm Community College Ash Technology and Learning Center in Greenville and featured candidates from the township level up through United States House of Representatives.

Greenville High School senior Caleb Wolfe, serving as moderator, asks a candidate a question. — Daily News/Cory Smith

“It gives people the opportunity to ask about common issues,” said senior Sage Wyckof, 17.

O’Brien said 27 students participated in one way or another through the forum. Some developed and gathered questions from the audience, while others moderated and asked questions to the candidates.

Through the forum, students have the opportunity to see candidates at the local level, see the roles they have and hear about different issues.

“Its a great educational opportunity,” O’Brien said.

Daniel Szczepanek, a 16-year-old senior, said the students had a mock forum where they played the role of candidates and walked through the format to see which questions would apply to each candidate.

Greenville High School senior O’Malley Bosanic, serving as moderator, asks a candidate a question.

Szczepanek said he made and collected surveys to help determine what can make the forum go better in years to come.

Junior Maddy Sorsen, 16, said she thought the forum went really well.

“It’s a good opportunity for citizens who are voting to talk to the candidates,” Sorsen said.

She said when people gather information strictly through advertisements and word of mouth, incorrect information gets mixed in with the facts and the voters are not fully informed. Being able to talk to candidates face to face helps eliminate that problem.

“I think the students did a nice job,” said O’Brien, adding he was happy that Candy Kerschen of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce asked the class to do this again.

Kerschen said she was pleased with audience attendance Tuesday night. She said every year students engage in the forum differently and she was impressed with this year’s group.

“I was really excited with the questions they came up with,” Kerschen said.

Students in Greenville High School teacher Tim O’Brien’s AP government class took notes to assist fellow students.

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