High school students hold mock debate, election

School start times, the state budget crisis, local employment opportunities for teenagers, technology and infrastructure at Ridgefield High School, and the cost of cafeteria food and parking passes were just some of the topics Ridgefield High School’s government and politics students presented at the RHS’s 56th Annual Candidates Assembly on Oct. 24.  

All five of the candidates seeking election for the Board of Finance and seven of the eight candidates seeking election for the Board of Education were present for the long-standing tradition of a debate leading up to Election Day.  Questions submitted by senior class Politics and Government students were asked by a student Press Corps, and the debate was moderated and timed by fellow classmates.  The candidates for the Board of Finance who were in attendance were Sean Connelly, Mary Heiser, Amy Macartney Freidenrich, Dick Moccia and Michael Raduazzo.  The candidates for the Board of Education who were in attendance were Carina Borgia-Drake, David Cordisco, Kaitlyn Hayes, Kathleen Holz, Scott Preston, Doug Silver and Margaret Stamatis.

The moderators of the debate were students Jason Bangser and Callie McQuilken.  Members of the Press Corp were Madison Cone, Morgan Held, Inbar Ofer, Kate Vanni and Alycia Wong. Timers for the assembly were Joseph Fazio, Brandon Grizzaffi and Olivia Jones.  

Seniors who are 18 years old, or will be turning 18 prior to November 7th, were given the opportunity to register to vote with both the Ridgefield Registrars of Voters and the League of Women Voters assisting in this effort.  

The League has a long history of working with the high school on the candidates’ debates and the mock election, this year held on Oct. 25.   

With the emphasis of the government and politics program on civic participation, all seniors were encouraged to vote in the mock election, the results of which are always highly anticipated. Students voted for the candidates seeking a four-year term on the Board of Education and candidates seeking both four-year and two-year terms on the Board of Finance. With 264 ballots cast, a turnout rate of 62%, the results of the Election were:  Board of Education (Four year term): Doug Silver, 206, Margaret Stamatis: 205, Scott Preston: 160, Kaitlyn Hayes: 138, Kathleen Holz: 125, Carina Borgia-Drake: 101 and David Cordisco: 65.  Board of Finance (four-year term): Sean Connelly: 191, Marty Heiser: 173, Amy Macartney Freidenrich: 67, Michael Raduazzo: 63.  Board of Finance (Two year term): Dick Moccia: 218, Amy Macartney Freidenrich: 44

The students voted using real ballots and a town vote scanner/tabulator. The Ridgefield League of Women Voters and the high school Parent Teacher Student Association shared the expense of the Mock Election.  This effort was also funded with the help of a generous donation the League received from the Ridgefield Rotary Club.