A History of Hail to the Chief

Who here knows how Hail to the Chief started? As a new student to Da Vinci, I had a lot of questions. To answer these questions, I decided to talk to a few people that seemed knowledgeable. I sat down with teachers Mr. Scott Bell, Ms. Emma Gist and Ms. Nicola Williams so I could understand what this project was all about.

”We started HTTC during the second year at DV,” said Mr. Bell. “It was tiny. The third year we increased its size and scope. We wanted the seniors to have a fun and interesting way to engage in economics and the political process.” The goal of the project was to give students insight as to how elections and politics work. While that goal remains the same, the project has changed a lot since it started. It is no longer the “tiny” project Mr. Bell and his co-teacher, Mr. Holst, originally designed. Mr. Bell said, “I am proud it’s such a long-lasting project that DV.”

Ms. Gist teaches the English side of Political studies and has run the project for four years. “The purpose [is] to give the seniors experience in the political system,” Ms. Gist said. “[It] allows them to play with different political ideas that they may not necessarily agree with. Ultimately, it gives them a better sense of what political ideologies or systems of thought that they DO agree with because they have seen both sides of the argument.” She also gave great advice for sophomores and juniors. She advised, “I think that the sooner that the sophomores and Juniors start paying attention to what’s happening in the campaign, the more fun they will have. I encourage all of the students to be informed voters before a ballot is given to cast a vote in April. When sophomore and juniors do this project as seniors, if they have been involved in the previous years, they will have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t work.”

Nicola Williams is a new staff member to Da Vinci, but not entirely new to the campus. She also completed the project while a senior at Da Vinci. “I was my group’s president. We were called the Reign Party, bringing a monarchy to the United States. ‘We make it reign’ was the slogan. As far as propositions go, we didn’t have a proposition to focus on like they do now. [My party] focused on marriage equality, anti-death penalty, heavy into guns and Ford motor company, and we gave pancakes to all students,” Ms. Williams said.

Like today, getting funding from different PACS was an important part of the project, even in the early years. “Ford was part of an agreement to a PAC,” Ms. Williams recalls. “We always had to incorporate Ford into our videos and advertising.” Her fondest memory, however, was during the delivery of her presidential speech when she rapped part of a Lil’ Wayne song, “ Make it Rain”.

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