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The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

The Student-Run News Site of Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. Keeping you WIRED in to all things Westside.

Westside Wired

Government students take part in annual mock election

Hanan Lotoro
Students running for president participate in a debate during class.

Continuing a long standing tradition, the Westside High School American Government classes have begun their annual mock election project. 

Students are not only able to “run” for government offices, but also manage each other’s campaigns and eventually vote in a mock election. Taking part in the project since its inception 15 years ago, Westside High School teacher Jonathan Preister brings his own love of politics into the classroom through the project.

“I love politics,” Preister said. “I always kind of say, it’s my little sandbox that I can kind of manipulate things and kind of show students kind of how things work. It’s kind of a way to bring my kind of passion and love for politics to students, so they can kind of see how fun it can be as well.”

While Preister acknowledges that the project is fake and not completely realistic to how a real election would go, he notes that there are always similarities between the fake, student run elections and the real, federal elections Americans see. 

“I think it gives them a kind of unique perspective on how campaigns and how our government functions,” Preister said. “We try to run it as close as possible to how real life elections and campaigns kind of play out. We always find it kind of interesting how the same kind of storylines out in real life, somehow they bleed over and kind of end up working their way into our project.”

Along with being a fun and interesting way for students to learn about government and politics, Preister believes that it has benefits transferable to the real world of government. 

“I think that [students] get a perspective that gets them excited about politics,” Preister said. “It gets them definitely wanting to participate more, and breaking down a kind of barrier- of a fear of not knowing what’s going on. Most studies will kind of show that if you get young people voting early, then they will start voting. But [many] don’t vote because there’s all these barriers. And they don’t know how they can get involved. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Because of the many different options given to students throughout the project, many choose to do different things. Some may run for office, such as president or congress, while others choose to take a more “behind the scenes” approach and become campaign managers. Senior Saffiya Rustamov has chosen the former option, and elected to run for president. 

“What made me decide to run for president is that I’ve always had an interest in not only performing, but leading and helping people,” Rustamov said. 

Rustamov believes that the project’s core message of getting students interested in government and politics is not only a positive thing, but also effective. 

“There’s a lot of things I didn’t know about the election and stuff like that that I do know now,” Rustamov said. “Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything [that I would change].” 

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About the Contributor
Taryn Atwater
Taryn Atwater, Staff Writer
Hi!! My name is Taryn Atwater. I am a staff writer for wired. I am currently a senior and this is my third year  in journalism. A fun fact about me is I have a cat named Giovanni. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at [email protected].
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