Seventh-graders at Wood Hill Middle School invited state Sen. Sue Tucker, state Rep. Barbara L'Italien and other officials this past Tuesday for a debate about politics, current events and the presidential election.

Tucker was so impressed with the students' preparation and presentations that she dashed off a letter to the Townsman.

It read, "Today I had the pleasure of participating in the Wood Hill Middle School Election Issues Forum. Teams of 7th grade students researched and presented the positions of both Senators (Barack) Obama and (John) McCain on a wide range of issues including health care, education, global warming, taxation, immigration and the Iraq war. Positions were displayed in writing, through wonderful posters, and in oral presentations.

"I challenge any adult voter in Andover to match the depth, the enthusiasm, and the ability to articulate these complex issues that these students brought to the task. In a word, this forum was "awesome," and I left with a whole new sense of hope for our democracy.

"Social studies teachers Katie Bent and Chip Gregory organized and led the event, but credit is also due to Principal (Patrick) Bucco and all the teachers at Team 7 East. The stars were the students," wrote Tucker, who lives on Farrwood Drive.

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