Impassioned on issues ranging from healthcare to the Government shutdown as well as education and improved job opportunities, students Shirley Aguilar and Michelle Borukhov portrayed Democrat Bill de Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota, respectively, in a lively Mock Mayoral Debate held at Queensborough Community College on October 30th.
Thirteen students from the QCC Mock Trial Team studied the campaigns, candidates and issues, and assumed the roles of candidates, moderators, journalists and NYPD security detail. During the opening remarks, given by Jia Cheong, special thanks was given to the members of Queensborough’s supportive administration and dedicated faculty mentors who helped make the occasion possible, namely: President Dr. Diane B. Call; Ellen Hartigan, Vice President for Student Affairs; and Professor Ted Rosen, Department of Business, and a Faculty Advisor/Coach for the Mock Trial Team.
The moderators, Justin Farmer and Zymeena Chavis, then announced the candidates who were escorted to their respective podiums by NYPD security detail officers Michael Rawls, Elvis Guaman, Juan Sanders, and Romer Cisneros.
Additionally, a panel of distinguished “journalists” posed questions to the candidates: Amanda Morris from WQCC-TV; as well as Pulitzer Prize-winners Cassandra Gaubert, Julie Anne Belaustegui, and Sam Mishra.
“It was fascinating to conduct research and study the mannerisms and voice of the candidate,” said Shirley Aguilar, who will graduate from Queensborough this semester and move on to Queens College where she will major in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. “Being part of the Mock Trial Team has taught me the importance of effective public speaking and being informed.”
Now in her third semester, Michelle Borukhov said, “It has been fun and challenging to learn how to articulate positions in a way that is both persuasive and politically savvy.”
Highlights of the event included fiery exchanges over charter schools and stop-and-frisk. At one point in the debate Mr. De Blasio (Ms. Aguilar) presented a teapot to Mr. Lhota (Ms. Borukhov) asking him to let his “true tea party colors show.” Mr. Lhota rebutted by offering Mr. De Blasio copies of Alice in Wonderland, urging him to brush-up on his literature.
“This event made the election come alive for the entire college community and allowed our students to hear the candidates’ arguments one more time before they vote next Tuesday,” said Professor Rosen.