This year’s sophomore class has been giving very serious consideration to the world they have inherited and have much to say that they would like the candidates for the presidential election to hear. Writing to the politician of their choice, they have asked the questions and made the observations that are important to them. In these frightening times, our young people are speaking up and want to be heard. Each of their letters has been sent to the candidate concerned, and so far they have received brief responses. Now they are bringing a glimpse of how young people are thinking and feeling in this election year. We are joining the conversation. I am very happy to introduce these thoughtful and ethical young people.

— Elaine Cawley Weintraub

History department chairman,

Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School

Dear John McCain:

A lot of people say that electing you is like a third term for President Bush. How are you different from President Bush and what will you do differently?

If you become president are you going to help the middle class that is feeling the crunch because of gas prices and the cost of living? Are you going to continue the war in Iraq? Personally, I think we need a president who can get our country together first before going off on other ventures. One last topic, I would like to ask you about your running mate Sarah Palin. I have heard that she is inexperienced and she has not been assertive with her answers in her interviews. Do you think she will be a good vice president and she is qualified enough to do so?

— T.J. Van Gerven

Dear Barack Obama:

This is the first time I have actually followed a presidential election. I am trying to follow the issues of our world today, as well as where the candidates stand on them, so that I can be better informed. I am trying to create my own opinions so I can help the world, too. I am curious to know if you became president, what your priorities would be. Some of the issues that I am concerned with are the war in Iraq, global warming and the future of the student loan program. I would like to know how you would resolve these issues? Also, how can I help? Most issues today affect my generation. We need to resolve these issues and I think that everyone can help.

— Kristen Parece

Dear John McCain:

Do you still think that choosing Sarah Palin as your running mate was a good decision after the questions that have been raised about her experience and ability to lead?

How do you feel about the war? Do you think it is a good idea to end it? If so what will you do to resolve it if you become president? Also, what is going on with the banks and the stock market, and if you become president what can you do to help ward off another Depression? What are your plans for energy, and how can you break our dependency on foreign oil?

— Brian Montambault

Dear John McCain:

I would like to know about some of the things that you plan to do if you get elected. First of all I would like to know if you have a time frame for implementing renewable energy and what it is. Renewable energy is very important where I live on Martha’s Vineyard and many people have solar panels or wind turbines.

If you get elected, do you plan to end this war or stay in it? What are some of your priorities that have to do with the war? Personally I am not in favor of this war and I really hope that you have a plan to get out of it or to do some good in the Middle East.

How will you be different from your predecessor? In my opinion he was one of the worst presidents in our country’s long history. Are you trying to distance yourself from his views?

Have you taken money from big oil companies? I know your opponent, Barack Obama, has fundraised his entire campaign without any lobbyists and gotten his money solely from residents of the United States. I would like to know how you raised all of your money to campaign.

What is your plan for funding schools? Will you put money into struggling schools in urban areas? I think that you should because many of the kids in those schools are struggling and need the funding badly.

— Salvadore McNamara-Esposito.

Dear John McCain:

There are a few subjects that I am very concerned about. One is the Iraq war. If you are elected president, you have plans to continue the war and were even heard saying that you didn’t care if the war lasts for 100 years. What exactly is the reason we have for still being at war with Iraq? The terrorists that attacked the U.S. were Al Qaeda, not linked with Iraq. The weapons of mass destruction, which was why we first invaded Iraq, turned out to be non-existent. Think about how many lives would be lost over 100 years of war. The older generation will not have to deal with the mess left in 100 years, but younger people like us will. Also, if you were elected, would you ever consider a draft if not enough people were volunteering to fight?

I’m also wondering what you would plan to do about Afghanistan, which is getting more dangerous. Do we really have the resources to carry on two wars at once?

I am also concerned about what you are going to do to help improve education in the U.S. Funding for public education has been cut, including things like the art department at our school, but also things like resources and supplies for poorer areas. What do you propose to do to provide a good education to people in need and raise funding for schools? Also what do you plan to do about the economic crisis? Wouldn’t it be better to end the war and use the funding to help improve our own country?

— Olivia Cameron

Dear Sarah Palin:

If you became vice president how would you feel as the first woman elected for the position? Are you intimidated by the job, or do you honestly think you can handle the pressure? I know a few people are wondering the same questions. I have also noticed that you are against child abortions. As a woman wouldn’t you have a positive view towards it though?

It amazes me that in my generation there would be a female sitting next to a future president of the United States. I never thought that this would happen. If your party gets elected, I will want to see if it changes the world economy and everything else that is in a crisis.

If you become vice president, do you think that women will rise to your standards and view you as an idol? Do you think that you can do the job?

— Niki Alexander

Dear Barack Obama:

I am an immigrant here at the United States and I want to know where you stand on the issue of immigrants.

If you become president, will you actually do something for the immigrants here in the United States or are you just saying that you will so that the immigrants who are citizens will vote for you? Will you really do something for them?

Will you pass a law helping them out?

The United States was formed by immigrants and they are some of the hardest working people here in the U.S.A.

Please do something about them; they only came here because wherever they were from wasn’t a good life for them. So they came here to get a better life. Since the government isn’t doing much for them, in a few years the United States won’t be known as the first world country but as the country that didn’t do anything for the people that wanted their help.

Please help them out. God bless you.

— Rebecca Cardoso Barbosa