6th Graders Attend Iowa Caucus

On Saturday, February 1, four 6th Grade students and eleven Carlthorp School alumni from Northwestern, Harvard-Westlake, Brentwood, Marlborough, Windward, Archer, Loyola, Phillips Academy (Andover) and Choate (Wallingford), in conjunction with KidUnity, traveled to Iowa to experience the caucuses as student journalists.
Kayla G., Taylor G., Owen Grant K., and Aven S. visited campaign headquarters, met campaign staff and heard about strategy and policy positions, met candidates as well as national journalists (TV/print/bloggers).In addition, the student journalists met local civic leaders and representatives from the Iowa Republican and Democratic parties, observed the caucuses in action, and tuned in on “caucus night” to watch  results live!
Led by Kelly Kuolt, Director of Service Learning, and with the help of consultants and journalists, our students conducted interviews, observed the caucuses, and produced stories, blog posts, photo essays, videos and social media feeds about their experiences. You can connect with their trip through the following:  
Prior to the students’ departure, Tim Kusserow, Head of School, shared the following thoughts:, “I am so proud of the hard work that these four students put into preparing for the trip. The work began when they were selected by a group of faculty and staff to participate in the program based on their response to the prompt, What does democracy in America mean to you? Immediately following their selection, the students began to prepare for the trip by participating in a variety of after-school workshops that have helped build their knowledge base and journalistic toolbox in order to best experience the trip with confidence. Workshops have focused on the political climate in Iowa, journalistic techniques related to producing stories and video narratives, voting regulations and more.”

There were so many incredible aspects of the trip.  Below is a list of the candidates and staff that the students met with as well as the policy experts and media they learned from and encountered. 

Candidates (and staff):
  • Andrew Yang Rally and interviews with journalists and staffers. Meet and greet with Yang
  • Steve Ricchetti, Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff 
  • TJ Ducklo, Joe Biden’s Director of Communications/National Press Secretary 
  • Lis Smith, Buttigieg Director of Communications and senior advisor
  • Brad Deutsch, Bernie Sanders Chief Counsel, breakfast discussion of money in politics
  • Joe Biden Rally - met Biden, brief interview
  • Sanders’ son, and senior advisors (brief encounter w/ Sanders)
  • Buttigieg Campaign Headquarters - meeting with Mayor Pete’s husband, Chasten, and Mayor Pete’s mom, along with staff
  • Buttigieg Victory rally - students on podium
  • Klobuchar campaign Headquarters - meeting with Digital Communications Director
  • Tom Steyer, attended his presser on Caucus day and interviewed him.  Attempted interview at airport the day after the Caucuses.
  • Joe Walsh - candidate meet and greet at coffee shop - interviews with Walsh
  • Bill Weld - candidate meet and greet at coffee shop - interviews with Weld

Policy Experts:
  • Jen Psaki, Former White House Communications Director
  • Adrienne Elrod, Spokesperson for Hillary Clinton Campaign
  • Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

  • John King, CNN (Marriott Hotel)
  • Isaac Devore, The Atlantic
  • Anna Palmer, Politico 
  • Greta van Sustren, FOX
  • Dana Bash, CNN
  • Katy Tur, MSNBC
  • Tour and viewing of MSNBC set, Java Joes Coffee House
  • Lisa Ling, CNN (pre-trip meeting)
  • Jessica Yellin, former White House Correspondent, CNN (pre-trip meeting)