Scholarly Smith learns to climb the political ropes

POULSBO — North Kitsap High School Senior Corina Smith isn’t sure if she’d want the job of President of the United States.

“I think it’d be a lot of stress,” she admitted. “So much to think about — with every decision and the impact it would make.”

Nonetheless, she’ll have an opportunity to see what it’s like in his shoes — and the shoes of many of our nation’s leaders — next week at a convergence of some of the country’s most scholarly young adults in Washington D.C.

Smith has been selected to be a part of the National Young Leaders Conference, held Jan. 25-30 in the nation’s capital.

The conference will allow the senior to see first hand the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government as well as the news media covering them and the international community in the district. Activities include: “If I were President,” which sees the students act as the president and his cabinet in an international crisis; “Testing the Constitution,” which will have Smith and others analyzing famous Supreme Court cases; and “Model Congress,” in which the students get to fill the shoes of House of Representatives members and exercise their typical duties as elected officials.

Though Smith said she’s not particularly interested in politics, she loves the capital and its museums, which she’ll get to spend some time in next week. She said she’s learned much from them, especially from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“It’s not the happiest of the museums,” she said, “but it has a big impact on you.”

Smith, who hails from Suquamish, attended Pearson Elementary until the fourth grade, when she moved with her family to Quilcene. She returned to North Kitsap for her ninth grade year, attending Poulsbo Junior High School and finally NKHS.

Her application for the leadership conference was lengthy, given her vast resume of extracurricular activities. She is a drum major in the band — a natural leadership role — as well as having been a counselor in “Natural Helpers,” a high school peer counseling group and “Lifesavers,” a suicide prevention group.

“Corina’s not a ‘me’ person,” said Sheila Walters, her NKHS counselor. “She’s a giver, not a taker.”

Next year, Smith is off the University of Northern Colorado, where she plans to study biology or a related field in preparation for medical school.

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