HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — “Incredible.”
With just one word, Chelsea Stewart, of Minster, described her experience of attending the first 2016 Presidential Debate Monday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Stewart and David York, of Russia, were two of the Wright State University students and staff members who attended the event.
“It was very, very interesting,” said Stewart. “It was a lot like you see on television. I expected it to be different than what you see on TV.”
“It was very neat,” said York, who is looking forward to voting in his first presidential election. “I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to come on the trip. It was very interesting to see behind the scenes but I feel like we saw the same thing as we do at home.”
Both students said Hillary Clinton was more prepared for the debate than her opponent, Donald Trump.
“Hillary was more prepared,” said Stewart. “But she sounded like she rehearsed the answers. Trump didn’t sound like a rehearsal. I was disappointed overall with his performance. But he’s not had as much experience in a debate setting,” she said.
York also agreed that Clinton’s responses sounded like they were rehearsed.
“Even when she tried to make a joke, it sounded like it was rehearsed,” said York. “Trump seemed to do more thinking before answering.”
York said he was leaning toward Trump as the candidate he was going to vote for.
“After the debate I think Hillary made up some ground,” said York. “I think with more debates to come, Trump will make up more ground. He’s had a short time of learning how to debate. She’s had 26 years of debating.”
Before the debate, members of the audience were told how they should act during the event.
“We were told not to clap,” said Stewart. “We were told not to boo. And we were told not to laugh.
“I’m very disappointed in the crowd,” she said. “The donors and congressmen sitting on the floor reacted to the things Clinton and Trump did. I was disappointed because it was hard to hear at the times the people were clapping and cheering.”
While they had a good view of the stage, Stewart said they had trouble hearing Trump when he gave his answers.
“Clinton was very loud,” said Stewart. “I talked to some people at home and they said Trump was loud and they could her him sniffling. You at home heard things that we didn’t hear and we heard things they didn’t hear at home.”
While most of Monday was taken up with touring Hofstra University and preparing to attend the debate, the group did have time to do some sightseeing Sunday and Tuesday before returning to Dayton.
“Sunday we went to Manhattan and got to go to the top of Rockefeller Center,” said Stewart. “We drove around the city and then went to our hotel.”
On Tuesday they visited Wall Street and went on the 9/11 tour.
“New York is awesome,” said York. “But I prefer the Shelby County lifestyle. It was amazing to see the different lifestyle and cultures. It’s a hustling city.
“When we were at the top of Rockefeller Center, we got to see a skyline that we couldn’t ever see in Ohio.”
Both expressed their appreciation for being able to attend the debate.
“I’m very happy I had this experience and got to see all the great things there,” said York. “We got to be a part of history in the making.
Stewart is the daughter of Jaylene and Joseph Stewart, of Minster. She is majoring in nursing at Wright State.
York is the son of Tim and Jill York, of Russia. He is majoring in supply chain management at Wright State.
Wright State was the original site for the first debate. After raising funds for the event, the university opted out of hosting the debate. Hofstra University offered tickets to Wright State so some of the students could attend the debate. A drawing was held and the students were chosen to go on the trip. The original sponsors of the Dayton debate paid all the expenses associated with the trip.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook, www.facebook.com/SidneyDailyNews.