More than thirty students dropped in throughout the evening on November 3 for AP Government teacher Daniel Petri's Election Night Watch Party. Petri invited students to analyze the media's coverage of the election, including potential biases and how states were called, important races to keep an eye on, and the context around the presidential election itself, including what would influence the long wait for results.
The evening began in prayer with Fr. Patrick Kifolo, OSFS, Campus Minister. Principal Mary Kate Blaine, who has taught government, economics, and U.S. history over her education career, was also on hand to answer students' questions.
Annie Paxton '21 joined in on the live stream with Petri. "I learned a lot about the election process while watching the Watch Party," she said. "It was helpful to have Mr. Petri, who is so knowledgeable, keep us up to date on election developments while also answering any and all questions we had. I appreciated that we were able to learn about the Senate races as well as the presidential election, because I hadn't been focusing on those as much."
The election has been much anticipated and a topic of conversation in history classrooms over the last few months. The Wicket student newspaper recently reported on the intensifying race: "The first presidential debate was held on September 29, with many people calling it a disaster. The candidates interrupted each other and several heated exchanges broke out. Alex Pohl `21, who is eligible to vote in the election, said: 'It was hard for me to follow. As a first-time voter I would’ve appreciated a more comprehensive and cohesive debate.'"
Petri, in an interview with the Wicket, previewed the election at that time. He anticipated a result at the end of the night at that time. He also spoke of first-time voters, like some seniors, and their role in casting a ballot: "Petri said, 'There are as many senior citizen voters as there are young people. The only difference is that more senior citizens vote. Public officials base decisions off of their voting audience, so when young people vote, there is massive social change.' Petri cited the election of over 100 congresswomen in 2018 and the election of Barack Obama in 2008."
Two students were quoted at the time. Jade Reischauer `21 said, “I’m so excited to fulfill my civic duty and vote. This is a super important election, and so it’s important now more than ever to go out and vote.” Meanwhile, classmate Alex Pohl `21 had already cast her ballot by mail. “It went smoothly, so now all that’s left is to wait for the results,” said Pohl.