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Students Town Hall Meeting

The Montgomery County Council will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 10 at the Council Office Building in Rockville. This meeting will focus on students in Montgomery County. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the building’s second-floor cafeteria followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council’s Third Floor Hearing Room.

The Council Office Building is located at 100 Maryland Ave. in downtown Rockville. It is about a three-block walk from the Rockville Metrorail station, which also is a main stopping point for many RideOn bus lines. For students traveling to the meeting by car, free parking will be available by entering the Council parking garage from the Fleet Street entrance.

John Mannes, a senior at Northwest High School who was elected as the 35th student member of the County Board of Education, will be among those attending. He is a member of the Policy Committee of the Board of Education.

Students who wish to attend the meeting are asked to RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.
The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. Susan Kenedy, a producer for the County station, will moderate the meeting.

The Council is composed of President Roger Berliner, Vice President Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer.

The first two Town Hall Meeting for Students, held in February 2010 and October 2011, each were attended by more than 400 people.

The October meeting is open to high school, middle school and elementary school public and private students from around the County. The meeting will allow the participants to let Councilmembers know how they feel about specific issues and also will provide the opportunity to ask questions of the Councilmembers in an organized, but informal, setting.

“It’s easy for kids to feel like adults don’t listen, or that what they think doesn’t matter to decision-makers,” said Council President Berliner. “The purpose of this Town Hall Meeting is to send the message loud and clear: ‘Your voices do matter and we want to know what you have to say.’ When it comes to questions like ‘how do we make our County better?’ or ‘I wish Montgomery County had . . . ,’ our young people have a lot on their minds. I hope they will join us on Twitter ahead of time and during the Town Hall.”

The Council will, for the first time, use Twitter to bring more young people into the discussion. Some questions will be taken during the Town Hall Meeting using the hashtag #mocoyouth, and students tweeting about the event are encouraged to use the hashtag, as well.

Council Vice President Navarro said that the Town Hall Meeting is another in the increasing efforts the Council is making to improve communications with the younger members of the community.
“We have learned much from our young residents through the Youth Café programs we started two years ago,” said Council Vice President Navarro. “Young people in Montgomery County today are smart and engaged. As technology makes it easier for them to connect with their community, it is more important than ever to learn their point of view. The Student Town Hall Meeting will be another opportunity to see how we can better serve our students.”

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