‘Cruz,’ ‘O’Rourke,’ star in Rock the Vote


Analiz Robledo

Senior Mark Rodriguez (Beto O’Rourke) makes a point during the Rock the Vote mock debate.

By Erik Garcia , Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts

LISD seniors learned the importance of voting and how the voting process is like in the real world at a Nov. 1 event at V.M.T.

V.M.T’s AP government instructor and Sean Gaynor explained the purpose of Rock the Vote.

“The Rock the Vote event was a group effort where multiple teachers, office staff, and paired professionals helped put this event together in different ways. Mrs. (Angelita) Rubio and Mrs. (Aemie) Martinez helped set up the ballet for the online voting process, Dr. (Martha) Villarreal helped ring in the guest speaker, and I mainly helped out with the student moderators and with the two students debating as Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke,” Gaynor, who organized the event, said afterward.

V.M.T director Dr. Martha E. Villarreal spoke to the seniors in the auditorium about the purpose of the “Rock the Vote” event to explain how everything is going to go down and what she expects from this presentation.

She later explained her thoughts about the event.

“We had our 10th annual Rock the Vote event which was very successful and I was proud of the students that came out and debated. It is something that I believe should be done at every high school because students need to understand the importance of voting. It’s not just about voting, it’s about paying back the many lives that were sacrificed in the past for our nation, so we can have what we have today so we can continue to prosper as our country grows,” Villarreal said afterward.

At the event, guest speaker Judge Beckie Palomo of the 341st District Court explained to seniors her reason to attend despite being busy with court responsibilities.

“I was excited in participating in Rock the Vote because I wanted to encourage and inspire the students to exercise their right to vote and to emphasize the importance of voting,” Palomo said, who said she would vote for O’Rourke.

The event featured two seniors who represented Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke to debate over real-life political issues to demonstrate what a political debate would be like.

“I think the reason to be any sort of candidate or representative is to be able to advocate and raise awareness about the political issues because the truth is, not a lot of people are aware of the real issues and how candidates stand on certain things, so being able to play a part of it means that I am part of the movement towards being more knowledgeable about the things that we should be learning about,” said Angie Bravo, the senior that played Ted Cruz.

The senior who represented Beto O’Rourke, Mark Rodriguez, declined to be interviewed.

A spectator gave her opinion on the mock debate.

“The event was entertaining and at the same time, it wasn’t. I learned a lot but towards the end, the way they were speaking didn’t keep me engaged but overall, the event was great, in my opinion,” said Emily Montemayor, a V.M.T senior.

A V.M.T teacher also had her own opinion about the event.

“I thought it was a very good event, very informative. The students who debated obviously did their research and they were very well spoken which I think got their message across clearly,” said Social Studies teacher Aemie Martinez.

As the debate between the two students went on, Palomo said she became very impressed and it exceeded her expectations.

“The students did excellently! I shook their hands and I told them that I was proud of them,” Palomo told The Magnet Tribune.

This event brought back memories from Palomo’s past from when she was in high school dealing with similar political debates such as public speakings, mock hearings, and mock trials, she said.

At the end of the event, seniors received instructions on the voting process. They went to the courtyard outside of the cafeteria and used booths that are actually used so they can get a feel for the experience.

“It reminds me back when I was in high school at Martin. I participated in different organizations where we did public speakings, mock hearings, and mock trials, so I know that this is a great opportunity for students to get experience and to learn from this,” Palomo told The Magnet Tribune.

Results for the Texas U.S. Senate race

V.M.T. mock election: O’Rourke 82.9 percent (242), Cruz 18.8 percent (55).

Webb County results: O’Rourke 71.18 percent (35,142), Cruz 27.98 percent (13,813), Neal M. Dikeman 0.82 percent (408).

Statewide results: Cruz 50.92 percent (4,244,204), O’Rourke 48.29 percent (4,024,777), Neal M. Dikeman 0.78 percent (65,240).

Source: Texas Secretary of State (www.sos.state.tx.us)

This story was originally published on The Magnet Tribune on November 12, 2018.