The day before the vice presidential debate at Centre College earlier this month, sophomore Jacob Moody was standing in front of the Norton Center for the Arts on the school’s campus with hundreds of classmates, waiting to learn who had been selected to attend.
The school organized a lottery system to randomly select 100 students to receive tickets to the event that pitted incumbent Democrat Joe Biden against Republican challenger Paul Ryan. Although Moody hoped to be chosen, he never really expected to hear his name called.
“I am never that person that gets selected. When I actually heard my name, I turned to my friend and said, ‘Did they say my name?’” Moody said.
During his years at George Rogers Clark High School, Moody had always followed politics and even campaigned for Barack Obama in Ohio in 2008. At Centre, Moody is involved in the Centre Democrats and plans to vote for Obama in his first presidential election.
“It was a great experience, once in a lifetime,” Moody said.
Although he had already made his selection between Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, the debate provided an opportunity to learn more about the political system, and see a historical event in person.
“From the (presidential)¿debate before that, that public consensus was that Obama was very weak, so as people have said, to see Biden come out swinging, that was something,” Moody said. “Also, to hear how Biden and Ryan would go back and forth discussing their ideas, it wasn’t what I¿expected.”
Despite the limited number of student tickets, the entire campus became involved in debate-related events, Moody said.
“The day of the debate was a complete blast. So many people from campus were out there enjoying festivities, listening to music,” Moody said.
For people wearied by the political process, having a debate on campus was energizing, he said.
“It was electrified. There was just so much going on,” Moody said.
On the day of the debate, students were loaded on a bus four hours prior to the start so they could be transported to Boyle County High School, where everyone was checked by the Secret Service.
“The week before, we felt like we were in a penitentiary because there were all these chain link fences and barriers. It was a little bit disturbing, and a little bit uncomfortable,” Moody said.
During the debate, Moody was seated next to the Fox News booth. Listening to the national reporters walking around the Norton Center, discussing their opinions, was one of the most interesting parts of the evening, Moody said.
Social media also played a large role in the debate, and Moody said people throughout the auditorium were constantly posting updates to Twitter. One of his own highlights was posting a photo from Newlin Hall on Instagram, which was “liked”¿by The Washington Post.
“The whole thing was just fantastic. Really, just being there is just something unlike anything else,” Moody said.
Previously, Moody had considered a career in politics, but now he would rather be an informed citizen.
“I like to keep up with politics just so I know what’s going on,” Moody said.
The 2011 GRC graduate is majoring in art history with a minor in environmental science. He will graduate from Centre in 2015.
The 2012 debate is the second time Centre has hosted a vice-presidential debate. In 2000, Dick Chaney and Joe Lieberman also debated at the Norton Center for the Arts.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at email@example.com.