A #039;Close Up#039; look at D.C.

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2003

Students in the 2003 Close Up program will get an up close look at Washington D.C., thanks to the continued support of the Chamber of Commerce and area businesses.

The Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual luncheon Friday at the Grandview Inn of South Point to celebrate 10 consecutive years working with the Close Up program. The Chamber also recognized 10 business that donated more than $7,000 to make the trip possible.

"We are the only Chamber in United States that is actively involved in the Close Up initiative," said Viviane Khounlavong, marketing director for the Chamber. "We solicit our members for donations and many show support."

Email newsletter signup

The participating businesses this year are Holzer Clinic, Dow Chemical, Superior Marine Ways, Inc., Marathon Ashland Petroleum, Armstrong Cable, American Electric Power, Sunoco Chemical, Ohio River Bank, US Bank and Liebert.


25 students from Collins Career Center, St. Joseph High School, Fairland High School, Chesapeake High School and Symmes Valley High School will visit Washington for a week at the end of March.

"I am very excited. We will be spending a week learning about how the government works," said Lindsay Long, a sophomore from Symmes Valley. "I have been to Washington D.C. before but wanted to go back because there are a lot of things I did not get to see the first time. And, it is just a fun thing to do with your friends."

Fairland sophomore Laura Evans said she thinks the trip will allow them

experiences that cannot be had anywhere else.

"We will be seeing how laws are made first hand," she said. "We are looking forward to meeting more legislators as well."

U.S. Representative Ted Strickland, (D-6th District) and State Representative Todd Book (D-89th District) attended the luncheon. Book had to leave early because of other commitments.

"There are fewer things that this country needs than informed, interested young people," Strickland said. "Youth really benefit from this rich experience."

Strickland said

this is the most serious time

since the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it is important that this never stops Americans' access to the government.

"The government belongs to you. You are the government," he said to the students. "We are the system. You are the system. You are part of this great thing we call America."

Caitlin Midkiff, a sophomore at Fairland, said the impending war and fear of terrorism is not enough to cause the students to miss the opportunity.

"It is something that is in the back of your mind, but it is not enough to make you stay at home," Midkiff said.

The experiences

the visit provides are truly invaluable and will help the students become the leaders of the future, Strickland said.

"Close Up does not treat you like kids, it treats you like young adults who have a responsibility to be engaged with your nation and your world," he said. "You will come back wiser, more mature and with a greater sense of responsibility as citizens of the nation than ever before."

The Close Up Foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit non-partisan citizenship education organization. The program was founded in 1970 and nearly 570,000 students, educators, and others visit the nation's capital.

Each year, more than 25,000 people participate in the program that promotes responsible and informed participation in the democratic process through a variety of educational workshops, seminars and experiences.