DAYTON — Two local students will be attending the first presidential debate Monday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Chelsea Stewart, of Minster, and David York, of Russia, were selected in a draft to attend the debate after Wright State University made the decision not to host the event. The names of the students who had signed up to attend the debate or volunteer were put into the drawing. Fifteen Wright State students names were drawn to go to New York.
“I had signed up t attend the debate at Wright State,” said Stewart. The students were told in early August they were going to New York.
The group will leave from Dayton Sunday and returned to the campus on Tuesday.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Stewart. “I didn’t think I’d have a shot at attending.”
While she won’t say which candidate she’s favoring, Stewart said the presidential race is very “interesting” this year.
“There’s a lot of animosity,” said Stewart. “I think it’s going to be an interesting debate.”
At the time he was selected to attend the debate, York said this is the first presidential election he’ll be able to cast his vote.
“I turned 18 two years ago so I’m excited to get the opportunity to actually vote and have a say in what goes in this country,” he said in August. “I’m paying a lot more attention to politics now that I can vote.”
After she was selected to attend the debate, Stewart contacted her high school government teacher and asked him what to expect at the debate.
“I want to see what it’s like and not what it’s like when you watch it on TV,” said Stewart. “I’m interested in seeing the interaction between them (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump) and how twitter reacts.”
Stewart said she doesn’t have cable at school so she hasn’t seen a lot of campaign events unfold on television.
“I know they each have views on each topics and the Republicans and Democrats also have standards they go by,” said Stewart. “My big concerns are about health care. I’m not sure if that will be a huge topic in the debate.
“Since I’m in the hospital field, I’m interested in that. I want to know if we’re going to see any more changes. Is Obamacare going to change or be revised?”
The students going to New York met Sept. 14 to receive information about the trip.
After arriving in New York Sunday, the students will visit Manhattan. On Monday, they will have breakfast with Trustee Michael Bridges of board chair with Hofstra University. They will also have a media briefing and interviews before traveling to the college for the debate that evening.
On Tuesday, they will debrief and meet with the media once again. In the afternoon, they will tour the 9/11 Tribute Center before heading for the airport and their returned trip to Ohio.
“The original sponsors of the debate at Dayton are paying for the trip,” said Stewart. “They said they wanted to help the students going to New York. I don’t know if I could have gone if it wasn’t for the sponsors.”
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity,” said Stewart. “I’m sure I’m going to learn things that I didn’t even know I was going to learn.”
Stewart is the daughter of Jaylene and Joseph Stewart, of Minster. She is a junior at Wright State, where she is majoring in nursing. She is a 2014 graduate of Minster High School.
York is majoring in supply chain management.
The debate will begin Monday at 9 p.m. and will be covered on all broadcast networks and cable news channels. NBC anchor Lester Holt will be the moderator for the debate.
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