While she's certain she doesn't want a career in politics, Audrey Lewis still finds the subjects of the nation's most complicated and contested system intriguing.
On her application for a spot on The Augusta Chronicle's Xtreme Teen Board, Audrey said she thought all students should have basic knowledge of the political system.
"They should know our local government because it has the most effect on us," said the 15-year-old Lakeside High School sophomore who attended a National Young Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., this summer. "They should know what can happen if they get caught disregarding the laws pertaining to them."
Audrey also feels that students should know the differences between the nation's two main political parties - Republican and Democrat.
"You should know what Republican and Democrat is," said Audrey, the daughter of Michael and Debra Lewis, of Evans. "You should know where you stand on specific issues. If you are going to register to vote, you should know what you are doing."
While Audrey finds politics interesting, she said her 10-day stint with the National Youth Leaders in Washington was more than enough to prove to her that she didn't want a career involving politics.
"Through my entire experience at NYLC, I realized I didn't want a government job. I don't want to have that much control over someone else's life. I hate forcing things on people; it's just not my nature," she said. "I want to be a journalist when I grow up. I love writing; it has always been a passion of mine."
Audrey, a member of the school's dance team, said she'd like to mesh her love for writing and her interest in politics.
"I'd really rather have more people informed instead of telling them what to do," she said.
Audrey has gained a lot of her self-confidence from her involvement in 4-H. Since the fifth grade, she has been active in the program and said 4-H is the reason she is who she is today.
"The whole reason I am the way I am today is because of 4-H," she said, adding that she has gained a lot of public speaking skills and knowledge from her involvement in the program.
Those skills may come in handy when Audrey steps before her fellow peers and shares her thoughts on politics. But she's also arming herself with something else: knowledge of all parties involved.
Audrey is a member of the school's Young Democrats and Young Republicans and plans to join the Young Libertarians.
"You can't argue for your side if you don't know about the other side," she said. "I really think you should know the entire playing field if you are going to get involved. Smart people keep their friends close and their enemies even closer."
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