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U. Mississippi-area Committee Plans Events Leading To Sept. Debate

This story was written by Elizabeth Googe, Daily Mississippian

The Oxford Community Presidential Debate Steering Committee met June 10 to discuss what Oxford,Miss.,will do to contribute to the upcoming presidential debates in September.

"All local schools have been involved in the planning of events since the beginning and will start discussing the debate and election material at the start of school in August," said Judith Thompson, co-chair of the steering committee.

"There is also going to be a patriotic parade the week of the debate. Oxford area high schools are also planning to have mock elections to demonstrate to the students how elections are run," she said.

Thompson said government officials will be visiting some of the schools to discuss the debate with the students. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will be making an appearance at Lafayette High School.

"The elementary schools are also getting involved," Thompson said. "All elementary schools will be reading patriotic books to grasp a better understanding of the debate."

During the week of the debate, there will be a concert Thursday on the Square for Oxford families to unite to celebrate the presidential debate. Local high school bands will sing songs and play music.

"Friday night, there will be a big screen set up in the center of the Square for the Oxford community to watch the debate," Thompson said. "And the committee is highly encouraging residents of Oxford to bring their lawn chairs to the Square to watch the debate and enjoy the activities."

Thompson said she is looking forward to the week of the debate and hopes Oxford residents will participate in the family-orientated activities that have been organized.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will affect the schools as well as the community," she said. "(The committee) wants this to be not only a memorable event for the community, but a learning event as well.

"This is a perfect opportunity for reporters to see the real Oxford," Thompson said.

University of Mississippi sophomore Kayla Hayes is looking forward to the community and University collaboration for the debate, and plans to participate in the community events.

"Even though I am a student at Ole Miss, I want to be involved within the community of Oxford, even though I'm not originally from Oxford," Hayes said. "I'm definitely planning on going to the Square with my friends to watch the debate."

The committee meets periodically to discuss and plan. At last week's meeting, various committees made their reports and planned the line-up of the events leading up to the presidential debate.

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