Midlothian ISD Students Learn From Moderating Local Politics

MISD Student Moderators
Carmen Hammon, Kalia Carmichael, and Amanda Omehe

Our Future Asks Questions Of MISD Board Candidates, Here’s What They Learned

As with many things in this world, the future of politics is largely held in the hands of the younger generation.

Understanding this, five seniors from the Midlothian School District recently served as moderators in a pair of political activities, MISD’s Meet the Candidate Forum and Midlothians for Change Candidates and Conversations. They are a diverse group from Midlothian High School, Kalia Carmichael, Ayden Koyanagi, Branton Huffman and Amanda Omehe, along with Midlothian Heritage’s Carmen Hammon.

MISD Student Moderators
Branton Huffman and Ayden Koyanagi

Though none of the students have any family political connections, each acknowledged their experience was educational – and a lot of fun.

Each took time to answer a few questions about their experience:

FDN: Why did you agree to be a student moderator and have you ever done anything like this before?

Carmichael: I thought it would be a great opportunity to see who all is running for our community and get more informed about their ideas.

Koyanagi: I have always been interested in politics both on the local and national scale. And by being a student moderator on the Candidates and Conversations debate, I was able to get a better understanding of the ideas that help build our great community.

Hammon: Getting involved in our community is important because it allows us to be educated about what happens in our community. I pride myself on getting involved with our community and this was a wonderful opportunity to meet the candidates.

Huffman: I think it is important that everyone take the time to educate themselves and take every opportunity to learn about our government and all the ins and outs of the system. I felt this would be a great place for me to get involved and also help the community.

Omehe: I was very interested in hearing what the candidates for this school board position had to say about their possible role in the community.

FDN: What did you learn? What was the most important thing you got from it?

Carmichael: It was great to see that even adults with different ideas and backgrounds can all come to a consensus for a common good. All the candidates were respectful to the students and other runners (candidates), and they all want to help Midlothian in their position.

Koyanagi: Although Midlothian is a smaller town, there are so many different political thoughts just from the candidates alone, which is essential to growing a community. My most important takeaway, however, is how polite and respectful the candidates were despite their (many) opposing viewpoints.

Hammon: Without a doubt, I learned something about the candidates, which was very positive. I also learned more as to why they want to be trustees. There is a current trustee that I felt extremely uncomfortable with that insulted people I know. The number one thing I learned was how to remain collected while being in the same event as someone who disrespects people. This event taught me how to work with people who insulted people’s culture and livelihood.

Huffman: I learned that the people serving Midlothian are great individuals who truly care about the people of this town. I was reassured when I listened to their new ideas and their plans to uphold them if they were elected.

Omehe: I learned that there are many different pressing issues in Midlothian that I wasn’t aware of even though I’ve lived here most of my life. The biggest thing I took away from it is that when candidates are passionate about the events/issues that occur in the town, it shows in their ideas and responses.

FDN: What can you take from this experience and apply in life going forward?

Carmichael: Being well informed about what is going on in your community is important, even if you think it doesn’t affect you. I can definitely see myself using this experience when I’m in college in a new group of people I am not used to.

Koyanagi: It is always good to hear your opponents professionally and clearly, no matter how much you disagree with them. Hearing from these outside points of view opens the opportunity to learn many things from their perspective.

Hammon: Hearing from different points of view and listening to those points taught me respect for others who agree with me or don’t agree with me. I can utilize this in the future when I get into the workforce and interact with people who are different from me. I will continue to be involved in the conversation and do my best to put all my effort into promoting morally sound, educated, and respectful candidates.

Huffman: I feel I have a better understanding of how elections work and everything that goes into the running process. Being able to hear from each differing perspective personally and be behind the scenes was truly an experience.

Omehe: In life it is important to be respectful, even when people have opposing viewpoints, and the candidates definitely exhibited politeness, which is becoming less and less frequent in society. I also think being informed about the people running for an elected position is really important and applies on local, state and national levels.

FDN: Do you have any political aspirations of your own?

Carmichael: I do not.

Koyanagi: I would much rather prefer to be following politics on the sideline than to be actively pursuing.

Hammon: Yes, I hope to be on the city council one day. I have many goals in life, from being a physician, business owner, volunteer, starting an organization, and being on the city council wherever I end up.

Huffman: I want to be involved and educated, but I personally would not like to be an official politician.

Omehe: No, I do not have any political aspirations.

Videos are below:

As a newspaper, Focus is excited to see our youth take an active role in politics and encourage others to support, mentor and encourage them. Thank you to the students for taking the time to speak with us about your experience.

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters