The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum

The News of The Blake School Since 1916

The Spectrum


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AP US Government and Politics Discusses Presidential Election

Current events looked at through learning lens
Gabi Marmet
Patters’ Campaign Corner showcases ballot issues, governor races, and candidates for both primaries. When a candidate is added or removed, the board is updated in front of the class.

News and information are all around us, but students are often unaware of current events within politics and the American government. AP U.S Government and Politics has been one of few classes that has been exploring government affairs and elections with teachers N’jai-An Patters and Stacy Helmbrecht-Wilson. “I started the class with pretty much no knowledge about how [the election process] works and now…  I’m definitely very informed,” Will Sznewajs ‘25 said. 

Christian Hovard ‘25 agreed, “I’ve learned about 75% of [the election process] through Gov… But even if it’s something I’ve already knew, Gov. just dives into it a little more. [Gov.] is a lot more in-depth.” 

The AP Government course focuses on the role of government in society but current events often are relevant in discussion. Hovard explains how Patters “sets aside ten minutes at the start of every class where we just talk about current events, and that’s been really beneficial to me… [Patters] will relate [news] back to whatever we’re talking about. It really cements it and makes me think more about what’s actually happening.” 

Helmbrecht-Wilson doesn’t think that current events and politics play an elevated role in the course, but she recognizes the benefits of addressing present news. “The class really is about the structure and function of government within modern politics. That comes in more as examples than a debate and discussion about what’s going on in politics today,” Helmbrecht-Wilson said.

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, students in AP Government have learned about elections and the primary process. “In the corner of [Patters’] room she has all of the people who are running in the primaries. And we [have] talked every time there’s a change, when there’s a debate coming, whenever something’s happening,” Hovard said. “[I’ve learned about] caucasing, primaries, and what an actual political platform is. We learned how qualifying for the debate means you have to sign to be loyal to a party which is why Trump didn’t make it to the debate stage. There’s a lot more steps to it than I originally thought. It’s a lot more in-depth and [Patters] really dives into it and really understands what it is and can really easily relate it to us.”

Helmbrecht-Wilson mentioned local races that occurred on Nov. 7 in her classes, stating that “we did talk about the local elections and encouraged the kids to look into who’s running.”

While the course does not primarily focus on modern politics and the upcoming elections, AP Government and Politics offers a base for discussion about politics. Helmbrecht-Wilson expressed her desire to help students feel more comfortable with their role in civics and how they can participate in politics. “The hope is that… the kids will get some more ideas about their political beliefs, whatever they are,” Helmbrecht-Wilson said. “It’s about teaching them what the structures of politics are so that they can use that as a foundation for their understanding of government in the future.”

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About the Contributors
Evan Vezmar, Editor Emeritus
Hi, my name is Evan Vezmar, and I'm a senior. I began writing for Spectrum in my freshman year as a staff writer and became an editor in 10th grade. Last semester, I was a Managing Editor and the Opinions Editor. My favorite part of Spectrum is being able to give a voice to people who may not be able to through the news. In my free time, I like to read, play the piano, and fence.
Gabi Marmet, Managing Editor
Hi! My name is Gabriella, or Gabi, and I am a Junior. This will be my third year in writing for the paper and my third semester on the Spectrum editorial team. This semester I am the Managing Editor and editing the In-Depth pages. In the past, I was an editor for Arts and Culture as well as Food. I am so excited to be a Co-Managing Editor and can't wait to improve my journalism skills! I am a competitive dancer and play ultimate frisbee, tennis, and soccer. In my free time, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I also have a dog named Lila who is an Australian Labradoodle!

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