By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
On the morning of May 21 as Kentuckians headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the primary elections, Mercy Academy students climbed aboard the C-SPAN interactive bus to delve into government affairs.
The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, C-SPAN, is celebrating 40 years of broadcasting commercial-free congressional proceedings this year.
The 45-foot interactive
C-SPAN bus travels across the country giving individuals and students an opportunity to experience the network’s inner workings.
Mercy Academy, 5801 Fegenbush Lane, was one of two stops the bus made during the day-long trip to Louisville. The bus also stopped at Kentucky Country Day School on Springdale Road.
Abby Wittmer, who teaches AP U.S. history and government at Mercy, said she uses C-SPAN’s programming on a regular basis in the classrooms.
This year, she said, her students made use of the network’s offering for AP exam preparation.
Wittmer said it was “very special” to have the bus on campus on election day and that the opportunity “really brings government to students.”
“It’s different from being in the classroom where they are taking notes and learning about government structure. Having the bus here gives them the opportunity to interact and see how government affects their lives from day to day.”
While aboard the state-of-the art bus, Mercy students had the opportunity to hear a brief presentation on C-SPAN’s programming and resources.
The students also explored the technology, including a 360-degree station featuring images from the coverage of high-profile events and behind-the-scenes tours of U.S. landmarks.
The bus also features a high-definition television studio where live interviews are conducted, a smart TV and classroom area, 11 large-screen tablets containing C-SPAN resources and a selfie station where individuals can share their experience through social media.
Students also had the chance to test their knowledge of government through quizzes available on the tablets.
Students who took part said the experience was cool.
Elizabeth Stansbury, a sophomore, said she scored 100 percent on a quiz aboard the bus.
“It was pretty cool. I didn’t know they had all those resources aboard. I’d recommend it to all the schools,” Stansbury said.
Sophomore Kourtney Ka-wata said she enjoys studying government in the classroom.
“It was a unique experience and really cool that they chose Mercy, because they travel across the country and there are so many schools,” said Kawata.
Mauranda Dolle, a sophomore who wants to be a journalist, said she appreciates that C-SPAN provides “unbiased and unfiltered” access to government proceedings.
“It’s just news and that’s the way it should be,” said Dolle.
The bus’ trip to Kentucky was sponsored by Spectrum, a broadband communication and cable company that offers C-SPAN programming.