Senior candidates reflect on the return of the in-person Election Simulation

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Townsend Harris held its annual kick-off rally last Wednesday, the traditional initiation of the Election Simulation season. The Election Simulation is an event exclusive to THHS, during which the senior class represents different aspects of a real world election, including candidates, special interest groups, media coverage, and the Federal Election Commission. This year, the simulation will be solely concentrated on local politics with fourteen featured candidates in New York City elections, ranging from Mayoral to City Council candidates. 

Senior Jeremy Deacon, who portrays Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, expressed his gratitude towards the Townsend Harris community following the kick-off rally. “It was a great honor to be chosen as the Republican mayoral candidate for the 2021 election,” he said. “I was beyond grateful for the reception that I received during [last week]’s [kick-off] rally. Hearing students be so enthusiastic about my candidate’s mission makes me very grateful.” 

“It was great to have an in-person Election Simulation again after almost 2 years of remote learning, though this time I am a candidate, which is super different but fun,” said senior Maryam Ibrahim, who is representing Democratic candidate Sandra Ung for City Council District 20. “It was nice being able to see all of the other candidates cheering and supporting each other.” 

Senior Samuel Tsai, who plays Republican candidate Yu-Ching Pai for City Council District 20 said, “[The kick-off rally] was a great start to the Election Simulation. I am a bit disappointed that my speech got cut off, but other than that it was really fun. I am very proud of my team and everything that they do to support me.”

During the first week of the Election Simulation, many began creating social media accounts and posters for their candidate or special interest group in preparation for the rally. 

Social Studies teacher and Senior Advisor Jaime Baranoff, who plays an integral role in coordinating the simulation, said, “We are very excited to be able to have an in-person simulation this year. The kick-off rally was super fun and energetic. The candidates, interest groups, and hosts all did an excellent job of setting the tone for what should be a very exciting election season.”

Participation in Townsend Harris’ mock election has been a tradition for over two decades. Seniors, many of whom will reach voting age next year, will learn about different issues that affect the city from a different perspective than in prior years, since it is up to them to relay information to underclassmen.

Senior Adrian Conanan expressed his excitement towards the Election Simulation: “I am so thrilled to continue my work for the National Association of Police Organizations special interest group, as well as support and vote for my favorite candidates.” 

“In the next couple of weeks, I am excited to speak to both upperclassmen and underclassmen alike in hopes of encouraging them to vote for me, but more importantly to educate them about the voting process and the issues that plague our city today,” Jeremy said.

“While definitely stressful, emulating my character Sandra Ung is a really fun experience and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the election simulation will hold,” Maryam said.

Photo by Zuzanna Kowalski