C-SPAN’s $1.2 million bus parked outside Reservoir High School in Fulton for two hours Wednesday morning, dwarfing a traditional yellow school bus parked behind it. About 150 sophomores, part of six government studies classes, got to tour the bus, where inside they answered news-quiz questions on large, touch-screen TVs and watched a 10-minute multimedia presentation on how they can use C-SPAN as a self-educating tool.
All the students raised their hands when asked if they would vote if they were old enough, and seemed genuinely interested in the election. Most students said they got their news from TV or Facebook, so they were especially interested in the media-driven, high-tech bus, intently tapping away and pointing at the screens lining the walls. Some students, who were sitting outside, asked to come aboard just because it “looked cool.”
The bus tours the country 10 months out of each year visiting schools, libraries and book festivals, but has stuck mainly to the East Coast this year because of election-related events like the conventions.
It came to Reservoir High Wednesday for the first time because it’s an exceptionally diverse school.
Kathleen Ellis, a Reservoir High government teacher who organized the bus tour, said half of her students are special education students, while some are AP. But they all get to experience the bus and get something out of it.
The last presidential election is the first the 15-to-16-year-old students remember, so this election is “like chapter two” for them, said Kathy Schloss, another Reservoir High government teacher.
The bus, which has toured every year since 1999, also stopped at Howard High School in the afternoon, and will visit Frederick Douglas High School Thursday.