“Twenty seconds!” urges senior Sarah Urbanik, holding a stopwatch.
She’s standing in the control room of Steele News Live, listing off cues for the daily broadcast created by Amherst high school students for their peers.
It’s a day unlike any other – primary election day – and the SNL teens have it covered.
“I don’t think we’ve ever put more time into the show,” says teacher Mark Lowrie. “And we’ve done it all in one week.”
His young news crew teamed with advanced government students to research and share presidential candidates’ views on health care, economics, immigration, taxes, and spending.
The goal was to prepare students of age to vote in the primary, and those of all ages to take part in a mock election at Steele.
Anchors Andrew Schneider and Marianne Ference also urged their classmates who will be 18 by the Nov. 8 general election to register to vote.
Another segment examined why voting is important, including the long fights to expand voting rights in the United States to the unlanded, to women, and to people of color. They interviewed several teachers who spoke passionately about the need to exercise their constitutional responsibility to help shape the nation’s path forward.
Lowrie said he believes the 13-minute broadcast, seen by approximately 1,500 students, truly made a difference.
“It’s important that we do more than just a newscast,” he said. “I think it’s good for kids just to hear the candidates’ names and what parties they belong to. You’d be surprised how many don’t pay attention to the outside world… Today we brought the outside world in.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Anchors Andrew Schneider and Marianne Ference are ready for Steele News Live to begin on the day of the Ohio primary election.