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More than 100 Onslow County students had the day off of school this week, but still got an education. On Friday, Onslow County hosted its annual Close Up program, which allows students to take a look at local government bodies some have only heard about in their civics class.

“This is something I’ve been looking forward to to all week long,” White Oak High School Senior Emily Cluen said. “I’m excited to be here and I’m excited to hear what the speakers have to say to us.”

A special panel discussion featuring representatives from schools in Onslow County and on Camp Lejeune made presentations on their school system and how they’re funded. Cluen said she was especially interested in the one to one program Onslow County Schools that seeks to provide students with their own computerized devices.

“It’s sort of bittersweet because I won’t get to experience it,” Cluen said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for those who might not have that kind of access through their parents and guardians.”

Students also got a chance to participate in a mock county commissioners meeting in which students were presented with a hypothetical issue — hurricane disaster relief. One of the mock commissioners, Tyler Mintz, an 11th grade student at Northside High School, said the experience gave him a new respect for the job local officials have to deal with.

“I felt like I was put into a position of power that I wasn’t ready for,” Mintz said. “I was charged with making laws to help people with their daily lives. Now, I understand the things (public officials) have to go through and I’ve gained a lot of respect for it.”


Jacksonville Daily News