Carroll teen-ager attends youth conference in D.C.

November 06, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

She had seen the nation's capital before as a tourist.

This time, Bonnie Borland saw it as an insider. The South Carroll High School senior was among 356 students from around the country who attended the National Youth Leaders Conference in Washington Oct. 18-23.

"When I went to Washington before, I saw . . . the Washington Monument. But now I've been in the place where they actually make the laws," said Miss Borland, 16, daughter of Robert and Elayne Borland of Taylorsville.

Miss Borland, who was nominated to attend by her social studies teacher, James Horn, talked with congressional aides, queried top news reporters, sat in on a session of the House of Representatives, visited the U.S. Supreme Court and toured the Algerian Embassy.

"I got an understanding of how government really worked," she said. Usually, the students would have met with their senators and representatives, but the elected officials were all busy with pre-election campaigning, Miss Borland said. So the Maryland youths met with aides.

Miss Borland said she would rather be an elementary school teacher than pursue a political career. But she said any citizen benefits from knowing about the government.

"I think it's really important to be involved," she said.

One of the highlights of the week, she said, was attending a "news conference" where reporters answered the youths' questions, she said. One reporter was veteran Helen Thomas, White House correspondent for United Press International and a familiar face to anyone who watches presidential news conferences.

"I've seen her on TV before and I admire her," Miss Borland said.

All the students got to tour an embassy. Miss Borland's group toured the Algerian Embassy.

"I didn't know what to expect," she said. "I thought it would be decorated with things from the country, but the room was really plain.

"It was neat being on foreign ground," she said. Embassies are considered the jurisdiction of the guest country. "I've never left the United States or anything."

The young leaders conference is sponsored by the Congressional Youth Council, which was founded in 1985.

Miss Borland was nominated for the conference because of her leadership and her 4.0 grade point average. She has been a peer counselor for the past two years at South Carroll High, and acted as student coordinator for the school's drug symposium.

She is active in school and county student government, a member of the National Honor Society and a semifinalist in the Maryland Distinguished Scholar competition. She takes courses at Carroll Community College.

After school, Miss Borland manages the varsity and junior varsity girls' basketball teams and works at Taylorsville Video.

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