Creating campaign posters. Participating in mock debates. Studying Supreme Court cases. Learning about the careers of every president from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton. Taking a trip to Washington, D.C. that covers the Capitol building, the National Mall, Ford’s Theatre, and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.
No, I did not accidently type my political science college course syllabus. This list is what the VAMPY Presidential Politics class has accomplished over the span of just two weeks.
On a typical day in class, campers read about the events surrounding the tenures of various presidents — such as court cases, political accomplishments, or scandals — and are then able to apply that knowledge in a mock debate. Whether role-playing candidates, serving as campaign managers by helping their candidate to strategize for the debate, or creating campaign posters for the candidates, all students are able to participate and learn. By the end of the course, every student will have role-played a presidential candidate at least once.
Right now, the campers are preparing for two final projects: the Mount Rushmore Project, in which the students justify their own choices for the four presidents who deserve to be carved onto the mountain, and the Presidential Face-Off, a tournament in which students will debate which of the sixteen greatest presidents has the greatest legacy. In a class filled with excellent debaters, this tournament is bound to be incredibly close!
As we head into the final week of VAMPY, I find myself wondering how we have done so much in so little time. But then I remember that this is VAMPY, where the campers are not only capable of such achievements, but enthusiastic about them as well.