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Students aren't buying the presidential hype

October 16, 2004

Jacqui Brown

MAGNOLIA PARK --Blake LeWolt said he's not buying into any of the

hype about the presidential candidates.

The teenager believes in the power of an informed decision based

on multiple news sources, not just what one person says or believes,

and feels that adults shouldn't vote Republican or Democratic just

because of their religious affiliations.

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"You can't just make decisions based on what your parents say or

what the bands you listen to say," the 16-year-old said. "You should

judge each individual character as opposed to their party."

With so much media attention focused on the upcoming presidential

election, high school seniors, like everyone else, are faced with the

daunting task of sorting through mountains of information.

Making an informed decision is confusing enough for those who are

well versed in political lingo, but what happens when you throw in

rock stars, rappers and country singers, who've taken partisan stands

in order to make a direct hit with this age group?

These young voters, though, are thinking for themselves.

Mike Marcos teaches advanced placement government classes at John

Burroughs High School. He strongly believes that seniors across the

board do buy into politics, especially this year with such a heated

and emotional election coming up.

As far as political mudslinging, which is usually the first line

of information many students receive, he doesn't think it's a

negative thing because high school students can relate to the "he

said, she said" kind of "smack talking" they hear at school.

"With so much reality television these days, students see the

drama these shows portray and are more likely to be motivated to find

out what all the political drama is about," Marcos said. "Whether

that's good or bad, if that opens the door to them pursuing this more

deeply, then it's wonderful."

Marcos admits to using this as a way to get more deeply into the

issues and allows students to become aware that there are more

candidates out there than Bush and Kerry.

"We show them the entire spectrum," Marcos said. "We take a look

at all the additional parties as well so we can show them the

extremes from fascism to socialism."

Anita Issagholyan, a 16-year-old senior at Burroughs, said the

only reason she won't vote in this election is because she's not old

enough. Even so, she tries to keep up with world events by reading

the newspaper and watching the news on television with her dad.

She feels that all students should keep up with what's going on

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