Local students learn more about the RNC during ‘Your Vote Matters program

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CLEVELAND - The Republican National Convention is providing a real world lesson for dozens of students from area high schools. They got an up close look at what it takes to host the convention during a special program called "Your Vote Matters" at the Cleveland Convention Center Wednesday.

"It's easy for them to become disillusioned with the system because they haven't felt a part of it, and this is all to get them engaged with the electoral process, understanding the convention, so when the convention is here in Cleveland, they understand what's happening and can be great ambassadors," Cleveland Leadership Center President and CEO Marianne Crosley said.

About 150 students from nine schools in Cuyahoga County took part in the program, presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center. Speakers included Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, representatives from the RNC Host Committee, Secret Service and journalists who participated in a media panel. Students also toured the Convention Center, where thousands of media members will be based during the RNC in July.

Students said the program was eye-opening.

"It is a big event," Euclid High School senior Ramon Clayton said. "What I heard several of the speakers say is it's Cleveland's chance to really show the world what we're about."

A similar program was held earlier this month. Teachers said it provides an opportunity students can't get in the classroom.

"My students have spent the entire year learning the foundations of American government and state and local government. Now they get to see it on the front lines with the people who report on it, do it, live everyday," Euclid High School teacher Josh Stephens said. "This is exactly what we need for our students."