Senior students from around the Oklahoma City Metro are leading a debate between gubernatorial candidates Kevin Stitt (R) and Drew Edmondson (D). Taking part from Edmond are Emily Kennedy (second from left) of North, and Madelyn Rops (second from right) of Memorial.

A student-led debate will be from 6-7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Performing Arts Center, 7777 S May Ave. Two of the students organizing and participating in running the debate are from Edmond High Schools.

Senior Emily Kennedy from Edmond North High School and Madelyn Rops from Edmond Memorial High School represent two out of the 10 seniors from across Oklahoma putting on the event. Rop’s roll in the debate will be event press secretary, while Kennedy will be moderating the debate between candidate Kevin Stitt and Drew Edmondson.

The panel of students will welcome, moderate, keep time, organize questions, speak to the media, and run the various aspects of the gubernatorial debate. All this will be done in front of hundreds of fellow Oklahoma students interesting in attending the debate. These individuals will be making history by running the first in the country student-led and -organized gubernatorial debate.

Only 11 percent of voters aged 18-24 voted in the last governor election in Oklahoma, and Oklahoma ranks 47th in voter position. The mission of From Now On is to: change the tone of civil discourse and civic engagement in Oklahoma by inviting the next generation of Oklahoma leaders to do better as they step from “Students to Oklahoma Statesmen.”

Representative Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City) and Senator Adam Pugh (R-Edmond) are from opposing parties, but came together to put on this event and to coach the students running it.

Pugh said, “We think that it is incredibly important that your voice is heard, but we can’t do that without your help. From now on we will pay attention. From now on we will do it differently.”

Organizers of the debate, the group From Now On, said this is an amazing opportunity for the community of Edmond to be involved in and to encourage students to participate. The debate audience will be composed of more than 800 high school seniors selected from across Oklahoma. Tickets to the debate can be applied for at Applicants will be notified if they are awarded an audience ticket. For those parents whose child is selected, you cannot attend the debate but are invited to join the post-debate reception.
Students are encouraged to apply, submit questions, and attend the event to learn more about the future of the state.

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