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'It's Quite Disappointing': High Schoolers Visiting D.C. Sound Off On Shutdown

A group of 200 students from across the country is getting a harsh lesson on how government works—and doesn't.
WAMU/Armando Trull
A group of 200 students from across the country is getting a harsh lesson on how government works—and doesn't.

The field trip to Washington, D.C. is a rite of passage for many students across the country. But for one group visiting the nation's capital, the lesson isn't so much how government works—but rather how it doesn't.

Larissa Selaji, 17, is part of a group of some 200 high schoolers from across the country that came to Washington as part of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Dressed in a red blazer, a black skirt and a tie, Selaji came from New Jersey to better understand how politics play out and to advocate for youth issues with members of Congress.

She may have gotten more than she and her trip mates expected, though.

"It's quite disappointing. We were very excited to come down here, we spent a lot of money to come down here. It's quite ironic because they're shutting down over a budget, and we were able to get our budget down," she said this morning as she stood by the U.S. Capitol's Reflecting Pool.

"It just shows us that the government, people we look up to, are shutting down and they're not negotiating like our council would negotiate over issues that concern us. It's just really bad for our advocacy, because we have to go out there and tell them about the concerns of our youth, and we can't do that now," she added.

As for what she would say to congressional leaders responsible for the shutdown, she thinks they need to think about more than themselves.

"You really need to come together as two parties and be cohesive, because it's not about you, it's not about your values, it's about this nation and what benefits us," she said.

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