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A Hands-On Civics Lesson

Post reporter Jackie Spinner checked out some preparations for today's presidential primaries on both sides of the Potomac River. About 50 Arlington high school students were expected this morning to get a real-time civics lesson as poll workers.
Teacher Casey Robinson gave her senior government class at H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program an edict: Don't wear jeans. "You're not just my students. You represent H.B.," Robinson told them Monday. "If they ask you to look nice, look nice."
Most of her students were planning to get up at 4:30 or so to help prepare polling stations in Northern Virginia for the 6 a.m. opening. "Most important thing...please be on time," Robinson told the students. "You need a wake-up call? I'm happy to wake up to call you."
For many of these students, it was their first detailed view of democracy in action. Chris Kendall, 18, compared the election day assignment to working at a Giant food store in the runup to the Super Bowl.
"I've never been inside a polling place before," he said. "At Giant, it's groceries. This is the fate of our nation."

By Washington Post editors  |  February 12, 2008; 8:40 AM ET
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