Dupage County Forest Preserve Candidate Interviews
By: Mia Picciuca
Students in Mr. Solether’s Journalism class were recently given the unique opportunity to interview Dupage County Forest Preserve candidates, who will be running in the upcoming general election on November 8th. In class, the students are currently studying investigative journalism, and this opportunity allowed them to put their newly learned skills into action! Seniors Emily Murphy and Trinity Vo explained they had been preparing for their interviews by reading articles about the Dupage County Forest Preserve, researching candidates, and crafting general interview questions. On October 6th, the class met in the library and each student, either individually or with a partner, got to interview a candidate who was assigned to them. This event was organized by the League of Women Voters of Wheaton. Both students from Wheaton North and Wheaton South were given this opportunity. Videos of the students' interviews have been uploaded to their website, serving as video voter guides that are a part of their Candidates in the Classroom program. Last spring, the League organized a similar event at North and South with the forest preserve primary candidates. The League plans on returning again in the spring for another event as well. Barbara Laimins (League of Women Voters member of 10 years) explained the significance of events such as these, saying, “We want to get students to understand the difference between candidates, understand local government, and make a wise choice for when they do vote.”
When discussing the impact of voter education, she stated, “It is important because it educates people about the big issues of the day and tells them how, when, and where to vote.” During this event, Wheaton North journalism students got to interview all six candidates who are running for our districts for the forest preserve as well as the forest preserve president. The candidates who were interviewed include: Erik Spande (Democratic candidate for District 6), Al Murphy (Republican candidate for District 6),Tim Elliot (Republican candidate for District 3), Jeff Gahris (Democratic candidate for District 4), Robert Schillerstrom (Republican candidate for Forest Preserve President), and Daniel Hebreard (Democratic candidate for Forest Preserve President). This event benefited both the students and the candidates, because it served as a learning experience for the students and a resource for the candidates to get the word out. Additionally, not only did the students learn more about interviewing skills, they also gained important knowledge in regards to being an active community member in local government affairs.
A link to the student-led interviews can be found below: