A Carter County student will appear on a special edition of Kentucky Educational Television’s “Education Matters” to be broadcast Thursday ahead of the public TV network’s vice presidential debate coverage.
West Carter High School junior Alexandria Knipp was one of six Kentucky high school students tapped to take part in a panel discussion about the election and the issues important to them. The “Student Voices, Election 2012” program will air at 8 p.m. The VP candidates will debate at 9 p.m. at Centre College in Danville.
Other student panelists are Maya Craig-Lauer of Danville High School, Eltuan Dawson of Seneca High School in Louisville, Eric Hagan of Boyle County High School, Jason Jewell of Center High School in Louisville and Tia The of Lexington Catholic High School.
The show was created in partnership with Kentucky Youth Advocates and includes guest host Renee Shaw, the panel and a behind-the-scenes look at preparations and activities leading up to the debate.
Knipp, 16, is an active participant in the Kentucky United Nations Assembly, a program of the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, and has a strong interest in foreign policy and international affairs.
“I usually state my opinion and I’m very open in my political interests and international interests,” said Knipp, speaking from WCHS on Tuesday. She wants to study foreign affairs and would like to become an ambassador.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said of participating on the KET panel. “I got to meet so many great people — students from across my state who had different views. It was a great experience to see students that are as interested in this election as adults.”
“They really were quite remarkable. It was really quite interesting to hear them all talk. They are so engaged and so interested in all the issues. They are not just looking at the surface, they are really digging into it deep and doing a lot of their own research,” said Nancy Carpenter, KET’s senior director of education.
“We wanted to do something special for the election, given that the VP debate was here in Kentucky and at an educational institution, and we had been searching for a way to include the voices of young people in our series on education, ‘Education Matters,’” Carpenter said. “About the same time, Kentucky Youth Advocates approached us about teaming up with them on a youth project they were sponsoring in conjunction with the debate. Out of these discussions came the idea of having high school students talk about the issues they’re concerned about and that they think the candidates should be discussing.
“We are so pleased with the results that we hope to continue to incorporate student voices in our programming. They have a lot to say, and we would do well to listen.”
Knipp said she will be closely watching Thursday’s debate between VP candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan to see if foreign policy, particularly foreign aid, is mentioned. Although she identifies with the Republican Party and is leaning toward supporting Mitt Romney for president, what his running mate says on Thursday could influence her decision.
“I do believe it will affect my opinion,” Knipp said. “If Biden comes in with an amazing take on point foreign policy and actions, and Ryan doesn't have much to say, that will really make me consider what is more important.”
Knipp said although she can’t vote in November, she would tell her peers, “Just because you can’t vote doesn’t mean you can’t be involved. You need to know what is going on in your country.”
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2653.