Hammond senior will see U.S. government at work EAST COLUMBIA

January 26, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Hammond High School senior Kerri Ruttenberg will be attending a different type of school next week.

Her classroom will be a dome -- the Capitol -- and her teachers among the most powerful leaders in the country.

Kerri is one of two Maryland high school students chosen to participate as a delegate to the 31st Annual United States Senate Youth Program in Washington, in which students spend a week studying the federal government with an emphasis on the U.S. Senate.

Briefings for the 104 student delegates have been arranged with President Clinton, cabinet members, a Supreme Court justice and several congressmen.

"I'm looking forward to being able to meet with so many of the country's leaders," said Kerri. "It will really personalize everything I watch on TV and see in the paper. That's what I hope to get out of this. I hope to see leaders as people instead of as figureheads."

Kerri, 17, a resident of Kings Contrivance village in Columbia, was selected for the program by Nancy S. Grasmick, the Maryland superintendent of schools. The program, established for students who are active in student government, is financed and coordinated by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in San Francisco.

To qualify, Kerri took a test on issues involving American government, history and current political leaders. She studied the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other documents, and researched local, state and federal government cabinets and agencies.

"I really worked hard for it," she said. "I went through a citizenship book I borrowed from the history department and typed up information I needed to know. I couldn't just go to a general history book."

Kerri had plenty of experience in leadership positions to back up her application.

She's president of the Howard County Association of Student Councils, editor of the Bear Press school newspaper and a member of the National Honor Society.

Last April, she won the American Legion National High School Oratorical Competition in Baton Rouge, La. for her speech writing and extemporaneous speaking ability.

Just before the November election, she co-anchored a national student-parent mock election on C-SPAN.

She said she has learned about social and environmental issues from her involvement in Student Council, which performs community service projects. She said she wants to learn more about how legislators deal with those issues at the national level.

"People blanket-blame Congress," said Kerri. "I hope to come back with an understanding of what they go through day-in and day-out and why things move slowly sometimes. How they are doing it and why are the questions I'm interested in."

Kerri will receive a $2,000 college scholarship from the Hearst Foundation.

She said she is interested in studying psychology and pre-law and eventually entering a career in law and politics.

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