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Montgomery Co. students receive real world civics lesson

Tuesday - 1/24/2012, 5:25am  ET

Kate Ryan, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Kids in Montgomery County got a break Monday with an extra day off school.

Most of them spent their time "hanging out, having fun" while others, like 14-year-old Laura Kohler, took a field to the county council office building. There, 18 students from Richard Montgomery High School combined real world civics lessons with some career exposure.

The students watched Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner brief reporters on local affairs. Stephanie Moore, a 15-year-old sophomore, proved she's ready to sit in as a political analyst on WTOP. Check out her analysis on how Berliner responded to reporters' questions.

"There were three approaches. There's direct. There's 'I'm not going to answer,' and there's something along the lines of 'I'm going to go around the question,'" she said.

Moore also played media critic, calling some of the reporters' questions "abrasive." Her classmate Calvin Chao was surprised at the rapid-fire process.

"It was a bit overwhelming because they were just attacking him with questions," he said.

Kohler said she really enjoyed watching the session.

"It was interesting looking how our county spends the money we have," she said.

Chao agreed, saying he didn't miss hanging out with friends so much "because this is our future in the making."

What do they take away from watching local government close up?

All three said they are more optimistic about their futures and the future of the county.

"I think we're in good hands," Chao said. "They're planning very well."

The students are part of a program put together by the Montgomery County Task Force on mentoring.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)