MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Teachers at a Hialeah Gardens high school are doing their part to make sure their next generation of voters are prepared for what that means.
They organized a mock presidential debate at their school, Mater Academy, and had students fill the roles of Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein and Donald Trump.
Before an audience of students, the four presidential stand-ins answered questions from a moderator for 90 minutes.
The goal was to get the students prepared, and excited, about their future as the next generation of voters and the electoral process.
“I hope to major in political science and gender studies. So, I think it was important to me to be at least a good representative of my party, the Green party, and show that the young generation has power and has a voice” said Sara Morales who portrayed Jill Stein.
“I really enjoyed being on the stage talking about the issues Americans are facing every day,” said Randy Bonilla who represented Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. “And I think it’s important everybody realizes that you don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. There are more alternatives.”
“I volunteer with the Hillary Clinton campaign and for me that wasn’t enough. I wanted to be able to go in deep into her policies, research who she is. And this campaign was the perfect resource to do that,” said Amanda Pulido who filled the role of Clinton.
The students who played their parts researched their candidates for months. Part of the project was for the student debaters to step out of their comfort zones if they didn’t support what their presidential candidate stood for.
“I’m not gonna support him in the election,” said Alberto Arevalo Maceo who represented Donald Trump. “But I was able to step into those shoes and realize ‘here’s his policy, here’s who he is’. And when they come together what does that mean for me? What does it mean for the American people? In doing that I think it opened up all of our minds.”
One factor that separated this debate from the real thing between Clinton and Trump is that the students were not allowed to mud sling or gossip on stage, but instead they had to stay on topic.
After watching the debate, students at the school will cast their votes in November.