Students hear ‘Clinton,’ ‘Trump’ debate at Rock the Vote (story, photos, video)

The Magnet Tribune: Melissa Rendon
Participants at Rock the Vote from left are Lauren Melendez, blank, Marina Garza, Justice Kendra Trevino, Patricia Alvarez, Justice Jason Pulliam, Micheal Chavez, and school Director Dr. Martha Villarreal.

Maddie Dion

Sabrina Sanchez, Staff Writer

Two students portrayed presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at VMT’s annual Rock the Vote on October 25.

The purpose of Rock the Vote was to raise awareness amongst students at VMT and the other main campuses of Laredo I.S.D of the importance of voting.”

— Sean Gaynor

“It’s a tradition at VMT that has gone on for several years. It started when Dr. Martha Villarreal (school director) came to VMT, and it’s become not only a campus tradition but a district tradition,” Sean Gaynor, Social Studies instructor and one of the organizers of this debate, said.

The presidential candidates were played by seniors Marina Garza as Hillary Clinton and Michael Chavez as Donald Trump.

The students portraying the presidential candidates debated on issues that have been on the forefront of this presidential race such as immigration, education, the economy, and foreign policy.

“The purpose of Rock the Vote was to raise awareness amongst students at VMT and the other main campuses of Laredo I.S.D of the importance of voting, and also through the mock debate portion try to provide them a summary of the relevant issues and stances that both candidates took,” Gaynor said.

Before the debate, the majority of students predicted that Clinton would be the winner based on the real presidential debates that had taken place.

“Her arguments are way better than Trump’s, and Trump talks about things that don’t make sense at all,” Martin High School student Jocavic Casaneva said.

The majority of the students either had a favorable opinion of Clinton, or believed that neither of them were fit to be president.

Ariel, a senior from Martin High School, said this when asked about the candidates.

“We’ve had better people. I think the point is to choose the lesser of the two who can cause the least amount of damage,” she said.

After the debate, students headed to the voting booths outside near the VMT cafeteria to vote for the candidate they believed had best represented their thoughts and opinions on how the issues that the country is currently facing should be addressed.

VMT music teachers and students performed rock music while the voting was taking place. Clinton won the mock election by an 87 to 12 percent margin.

The guests of honor included Laredo Independent School District superintendent Dr. A. Marcus Nelson, and Jason Pulliam and Justice Patricia Alvarez from the 4th Court of Appeals.

Gaynor believed the event went very well.

“It was very successful. I thought the guest speakers that came in, Judge Patricia Alvarez and Judge Jason Pullam, provided very interesting perspectives on the importance of voting and encouraged our students to go out and vote, those that are eligible already and those who will be eligible someday. It was a complete bipartisan attempt to inform voters of the relevant issues in this election,” Gaynor said. “We had two students presenting the summaries of the debate arguments of both candidates. We prepared really well for that. The students studied the candidate’s policies, and from that generated a composite of what the two candidates’ views were on the issues. So, I think overall we presented a detailed yet balanced account of both perspectives of this election.”