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Meet the Only 13-Year-Old Covering the Republican Convention in Cleveland

Maple Buescher

When the Republican National Convention comes to town next week, many Clevelanders plan to work from home or go on vacation to avoid the activities downtown.

But one Northeast Ohio middle schooler has chosen a rare opportunity to be right in the thick of it all.

Few people start reporting as young as Maple Buescher. This thin, blond, bespectacled 13-year-old is one of 10 reporters for “Time for Kids”—  spinoff of “Time” magazine that’s distributed to 4 million elementary school students across the country.  This summer, Buescher will be the magazine’s only credentialed kid reporter on the floor of the Quicken Loans Arena covering the Republican National Convention.

“The 2016 Republican National Convention—RNC—is taking place in Cleveland from July 18th to 21st 2016,” Buescher said, reading from her article.

She wrote this article as part of her application to the magazine.

“'’National political conventions are the super bowl of meetings,' says David Gilbert, president and CEO of the 2016 Cleveland host committee,” she said, reading another passage.

“She spoke to the chairman of the Republican party of her county, the Republican party of Ohio. She was able to really hone in on really reliable sources," says Laura Blackburn, an Associate Editor at Time for Kids.  She says a major reason Buescher was chosen to report from the convention was this story she wrote on Cleveland’s preparations for the RNC.  One other student will cover the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

A historic opportunity
Buescher’s mom, Kari Elsila remembers when her daughter got the call that she would be a kid reporter this year. 

“I watched her have this conversation and watched her jump up and down. She was very thrilled. I haven’t seen her want anything like that for a long time,” Elsila said.

Maple’s father, Michael Buescher says he’s proud of his daughter’s ambition. And both of her parents are excited they’ll be going to the RNC because of the work of their young teen.

“It’s the biggest event happening in Cleveland in her lifetime, with all due respect to the Cavs,” he said.

Maple Buescher
Buescher's parents say she is excited for this unique opportunity and are very proud of their daughter.

Covering the convention
The historic nature of this convention, with its controversial likely nominee, isn’t lost on Maple. 

“I would like to talk to delegates.”

Buescher says she wants to learn what it’s like to be in the shoes of one of the 2,472 Republican delegates.

“At the convention, they’re entrusted to vote for the candidate that their state selected even though their own political views might not support that same candidate,” she said.

And what would she ask the candidate Donald Trump if she gets the chance?

“I think I might ask him why he thinks people don’t support him or don’t like him for president.”

Politically involved
At Monticello Middle School in Cleveland Heights, Daisy Tims was Buesher’s Language Arts teacher. She says Buescher talked with many of her classmates about politics over the past school year.  Tims warns, don’t take these kids for granted.

I think people underestimate the 7th grader. And they know a lot more than you give them credit for,” Tims said.

In fact, 13 year old Maple Buescher says, in some ways her age may be an advantage.

“Since I’m young, I do have a different perspective, because it’s new and it’s fresh and exciting and I haven’t ever experienced this stuff before. I was only 8 or 9 when the last presidential race was,” she said.

Of the estimated 15 thousand credentialed reporters at the coming RNC, Buescher will likely be the only one who won’t be eligible to vote for president until 2024.