Move over Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, students in Oswego County are joining the 2012 presidential campaign trail as part of their participation in the Oswego County Youth Academic (OCAY) League.
Eight teams, representing eight school districts in the county participated in a presidential campaign event as part of the first OCAY League competition of the school year.
The multi-part, politically inspired day-long event tasked each team with creating a unique political party and a fictional candidate to run for President of the United States.
Each team created a biography of their candidate and the candidate’s position on such issues as foreign policy, immigration, education and health care. They also developed a campaign for their fictional candidate that was aligned with their party’s platform and then presented a 30- to 45-second campaign ad that was aimed at the Latino voter and spoken in Spanish.
Additionally, each team created a logo to represent their political party, similar to the elephant that is characteristic of the Republican Party and the donkey that is characteristic of the Democratic Party.
Independent judges scored each team’s party platform, political party logo, candidate’s biography, and campaign based on a rubric that evaluated the competitors’ writing skills, current events knowledge, knowledge of the election process and government, Spanish speaking skills, artistic ability as well as team and time management skills.
The judges’ score was added to the score that each team earned after completing quizzes about the constitution, elections, founders and electors and the first place, gold medal was awarded to the team from G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton.
The second place, silver medal went to the team from Pulaski High School and the third place, bronze medal was awarded to the Paul V. Moore High School team from Central Square.
The OCAY League was organized in the spring of 1997 with the idea that academics merit a standing comparable to athletics.
Students’ academic skills are challenged and showcased in a wide variety of competitive events that emphasize scholastic excellence, team building, leadership and creativity.
A particular strength of the league is its emphasis on cooperative problem solving. OCAY League is coordinated through Oswego County BOCES’ Instructional Support Services as part of the Gifted and Talented Programs cooperative services.