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From the Country to the Big City: My DNC Experience

Seniors Alisha Newton and Ashlee Cateni attended the Democratic National Convention headliner event: "Investing in 21st Century Cities," sponsored by the host committee of the Mayor's Youth Press Corps.

Living in a small, country town can have its downsides, but also some benefits. For someone, like myself, not used to the hustle and bustle of city life, Charlotte can be very overwhelming. So to be able to experience the Democratic National Convention was a very exciting experience, especially since, if one looked close enough during that historic week, one could even spot a host of celebrities. 

For me, the first step meant walking through the streets of Charlotte. Wanting to take pictures and trying not to stare (like a tourist!) at the enormous skyscrapers, I tried my best to stay calm and collected. Looking like a tourist wasn’t the only dilemma, we, myself and classmate Alisha Newton, had to compose ourselves before we attended the Mayor’s Youth Press Corps Headline Event, “Equality and Opportunity in the 21st Century: Lessons from the U.S. and Around the World,” at Belk Theatre. The panel included four mayors: Charlotte’s Anthony Foxx, Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter, Houston’s Annise Parker, and the mayor of Florence, Italy, Matteo Renzi.

Throughout the program, each mayor made excellent points regarding education and city growth. Foxx described cities as “rings on a tree,” while Parker specified four things that define a growing city: education, jobs, social life, and entertainment. Renzi lightened the mood when he said, “I’m the mayor of a community, not the director up in the sky.”

Although each mayor hailed from distinctly disparate cities, they all spoke about similar issues: immigration, investing in education, and the need for globalization. Throughout the conference, each mayor eloquently answered questions from panelists with wisdom and knowledge. By the time the conference ended, my only disappointment was not being able to ask a question, but it did not matter. I had the opportunity of a lifetime, and, in the end, I cherished every minute of it.


Written by: Ashlee Cateni, 12th grade student
Posted: Sep 24, 2012 by Regina Snelson

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