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WBOI Presents: New Tech Academy's "Rock The Vote!" 2022

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Fort Wayne school board trustee Anne Duff meets with students during a Rock The Vote! session.
WBOI Presents: Rock The Vote! 2022, Part 1
Student conversations with Maria Norman, Kyle Miller, and Rich Beck.

On this episode of WBOI Presents, you’ll hear a two-part series highlighting this year’s Rock The Vote collaboration between New Tech Academy at Wayne High School and 89.1 WBOI.

The program has been led by New Tech instructor Robert Haddad over the years. It’s a civics project that aims to show students the importance not just of voting, but also awareness and participation in the electoral process, and how to read through political rhetoric to make informed decisions.

In 2017, he requested help from 89.1 WBOI to help students achieve these goals. WBOI Content Director Zach Bernard has taken on that responsibility each fall semester since.

This year, Zach and Bob decided on a more direct, intimate approach for final projects: students would spend a couple weeks researching a topic and developing several questions around it. Then, office holders and candidates would be invited individually into the classroom and participate in Socratic discussions guided by students. The hope was that more direct communication would lead to a more substantive discussion.

On these episodes of WBOI Presents, you’ll be hearing the outcome of many of these dialogues between students and officials. These dialogues were recorded in late October, and the candidates and officials featured are:

  • Fort Wayne Community Schools Board Trustee Maria Norman
  • 82nd District Democratic State Representative Kyle Miller
  • Republican Allen County Commissioner Rich Beck
  • Fort Wayne Community Schools Board Trustee Anne Duff
  • 3rd District Independent U.S. House candidate Nathan Gotsch
  • Democratic Fort Wayne City Council candidate Audrey Davis

At the end of the program, you will hear student reflect on their experience in this year's Rock The Vote project.

WBOI Presents: Rock The Vote! 2022, Part 2
Student conversations with Anne Duff, Nathan Gotsch, and Audrey Davis.

Not every conversation from these sessions will air. A scheduling conflict resulted in discussions with City Council members Jason Arp and Michelle Chambers, and then-Allen County Commissioner candidate Jorge Fernandez not being recorded in broadcast quality. But their participation was greatly appreciated, and still played a major role in the students’ final projects.

We’ll also note that, due to time constraints, most of these conversations have been trimmed for broadcast. These sessions were ranging from 30-40 minutes in length, and we wanted to bring you as many of these as we could.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.