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Parkway Students Tuned In Presidential Debate

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NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. (KTVI) – The 1st presidential debate could go a long way in determining the outcome of the election.

"Debates have been sort of the critical piece in swaying undecided voters one way or the other," said Scott Jensen, Webster University's director of Forensics and Debate.

Jensen believes the President's big challenge will be to convince voters he deserves a second term.  He believes Romney will need to point out the economic weaknesses from the past four years while clearly detailing his own positions.

"90 seconds is not a lot of time to do that," said Jensen.

He feels the President might have an advantage when it comes to being more comfortable speaking but stresses both candidates need to go beyond talking points in order to win over voters.

"You don't look for a rehearsed approach for a debate.   You expect spontaneity," said Jensen.

The Parkway School District is helping its students learn about each candidate's positions and how to analyze the debate performance.

The director of the district's social studies programs believes the social media explosion has helped connect 18-year-olds to politics.

"I think that they are feeling energized," said Toby McQuerrey.  He believes students feel capable of making a difference.

McQuerrey says the education goes all the way down to kindergartners learning about the issues.  Parkway also partnered with UMSL and Kids Voting Missouri to register eligible voters.

Parkway Central Seniors Alyssa Guller and Rebecca Altman were part of a planning meeting Tuesday night for a conference called, "Awareness to Action."

The event will be held Thursday, October 11th from 6:30pm to 9pm at Parkway Central High School.  Experts will help students find ways to solve community problems.

Each student has reasons for plugging into politics.

"I want to follow it because I know it will affect me in the future," said Guller.

"I think the economy is a really big issue," said Altman.

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