Archive for Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Area teen-ager spends week studying media in America

August 23, 2000

An area teen-ager recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate with about 200 other students in a seminar on the media.

Sheila Partridge, 17, Leavenworth, is a senior at Tonganoxie High School. From June 24 to July 1, she had the opportunity to tour Washington, D.C., while participating in a government seminar on Media (Fourth Estate) and Democracy.

The seminar was led by a group called the Presidential Classroom. Students from across the United States and from other countries also participated in the events at Georgetown University.

Partridge was one of only three Kansans to attend.

The trip was an honor she appreciated.

Partridge was selected as a candidate in "Who's Who in American High Schools," and then decided to try out for the trip. Her application was reviewed by a committee selected by Presidential Classroom. A few weeks later, Partridge received an acceptance letter.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I was going to Washington, D.C., by myself, with no one I knew, to be going to seminars on the media. I was scared and excited all in one moment, but as I made friends and realized most of these people were feeling the same way then, I had fun and learned even more."

Seminars on the American political process included sessions led by Peter Prichard, president of Freedom Forum, John Sturm of the Newspaper Association of America, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. Students also attended workshops led by the Newseum on Media Ethics and Photo Ethics; and took a look at "The Supreme Court and the first Amendment," led by William Suter, the clerk of the Supreme Court.

Students also made visits to foreign embassies, took a private tour of the White House and watched a performance by a political satire group, the Capitol Steps.

In addition to all this, Partridge met Kansas officer holders, including Sen. Pat Roberts, Sen. Sam Brownback and Rep. Jim Ryun.

The trip included not only seminars, tours and learning, but provided the opportunity to meet new people and to make friends with others from across the country. To assist students in getting acquainted, students participated in caucuses of groups of 20 to 30 students. In each caucus, the students traveled together, debated current issues and participated in other activities.

"The caucus gave me a chance to get to know people, hear different views on media and their role in our society, and to express my views on some of the current topics in the media," Partridge said. "It gave me a chance to listen and a chance to actually be heard. I think people should look at all of us who are good and who are great leaders and focus on us, instead of on the bad all the time. They worry so much on what we aren't doing. Instead, why not look at all the ideal things we are doing?"

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