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Moore Students To Host ‘Informative yet Entertaining” Mayoral Forum

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Moore Students To Host ‘Informative yet Entertaining” Mayoral Forum
Posted on 10/15/2015
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Four years ago, Lyman Moore Middle School students got involved in a historic election by hosting a forum for candidates vying to become Portland’s first popularly elected mayor in nearly nine decades. Now, with the mayor’s seat up for election again, Moore sixth- and seventh-graders students will host another mayoral forum on Thursday, Oct. 22.

All three candidates for mayor – the incumbent mayor, Michael Brennan, and challengers Ethan Strimling and Tom MacMillan – have said they will attend the event, to be held from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The candidates shouldn’t expect a walk in the park, according to social studies teacher Caroline Foster.

She said this year’s debate is expected to be another “informative yet entertaining public event” like the one four years ago. She said candidates involved in that earlier forum “raved about the event and said it was the best in which they took part.”

The students’ purpose in holding the forum is to help community members understand the differences between the candidates. And students plan to drill the candidates on questions important to them and their families.

“There will be a ‘white board’ round in which candidates will be asked the same question and must write their answers and show them simultaneously,” Foster said. “For some questions, they'll have to choose between two options (i.e., ‘What's more important, the economy or the environment?’) and for others, they'll answer from personal experience (i.e., ‘Describe your leadership style in one word.’).“

She continued, “Another round of questioning will be specific to each candidate, based on his platform. This will be an oral round. Depending on student ideas, there will be some surprises, too!”

The forum four years ago was hosted by just the seventh-graders, but this year sixth-graders are joining them in putting on the  debate. Fifth-graders at nearby Lyseth Elementary School have been invited to attend the event.

“Students will be learning about the local election process and the importance of civic responsibility. They'll analyze candidate interviews and media in order to prepare, and they'll research, write, and deliver the questions themselves,” Foster said. “They'll also serve as hosts, recorders, and creative planners, and they'll write persuasively for their favorite candidate after reflecting on the event. Moore students are responsible community members; this is one way they'll give back.”

David Hilton, another Moore social studies teacher, added, “We're trying to help students grow to be good global citizens who recognize differing perspectives, communicate ideas effectively, and take action. Their involvement with this local election is a chance to practice the skills needed to be involved citizens. We are very proud of our students.”

The forum will be videotaped and played later on TV3, Portland's education cable station (Channel 3).