January 18, 2005 > Mock Convention
A lesson in leadership
by Susana Nuñez
On Jan.14, American High School's senior class held their annual Mock Convention. This simulation of an election took months of planning and preparation by the school's Government teachers and the senior class.
This year's candidates were Richard Ho, Moderate; Basho Naegle, Liberal; Ryan Chien, Conservative; Mitesh Bhakta, Libertarian; and Eric Da Silva, Reactionary. The all-day event was filled with debates over issues chosen by the students and included a speech by the city of Fremont's Mayor, Bob Wasserman. Although all of the candidates campaigned wholeheartedly, Liberal Basho Naegle came out victorious through his use of humor and a dynamic campaign.
In the past, preparation for the event included the formation of various committees. The Mock Committees included Art, Music, Set Up, Website, Security, Publicity, General Staff and the vital Rules Committee. The Rules Committee served as censors and imposed ethical standards by determining what content would be allowable in television ads, posters and flyers
Most candidates opted for humor as their tactic. Winning candidate Naegle, for example, did a Conan O'Brien parody for one of his television ads. Reactionary Da Silva also used humor as a means of gaining supporters, but always ended his television ads with a closing speech for his cause.
A few changes were made during the weeks before the Mock Convention. Candidate Bhakta chose to run as a Libertarian instead of the Radical candidate. Also, instead of holding open discussions once a week in the gym, as opposed to by the entire senior class, they were held in classrooms.
Each Government class was assigned topics for debate, with the majority view logged after each discussion. The topics were based on the 13 platform topics that would be voted on during the Convention. Topics included: environment, energy, taxation and business, social security, healthcare, education, gay rights, abortion, gun control, the death penalty, legalization of marijuana, homeland security and terrorism, and the war in Iraq. With the help of their campaign team, the candidates prepared to debate for these issues at the all-day debate on Jan. 11 that would hopefully gain them more support when the topics were voted upon on the day of the Convention.
Campaign managers provided the most support for the candidates. Da Silva's campaign manager was Glenn Parker, Ho's was Jessamyn Edra, Chien's was Ankur Bhatia, Bhakta's was Jenny Subil and Naegle's was Kevin Amirehsani.