MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Friday, Gov. Tim Walz took questions about the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference from an unlikely group. Instead of journalists, it was Minnesota high school students.

Twelve students across the Twin Cities took to the front row of the press room in the Department of Revenue building in St. Paul.

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Kinsley Wilcox-McBride is a senior at South High in Minneapolis and used the opportunity to ask the governor about issues impacting her neighborhood directly.

She asked the Governor, “I’m curious how COVID impacts the resources we can give to the homeless community?”

“I got my one question in about homelessness and I appreciated his answer, but in this sort of setting it’s hard to get in to those really complicated topics,” said Wilcox-McBride.

Zachary Knapp and Aric Randolph go to Spectrum High School in Elk River.

“It was really crazy just to be in the same room as him, much less ask him questions about how he’s handling things,” said Knapp.

They used this opportunity to ask the governor a more personal question: “How do you maintain good mental health during this pandemic?” asked Knapp.

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Walz responded by telling the students that he runs five miles, five days a week and he’s focusing on the things he can control, instead of stressing over the things he can’t.

Knapp says it was important to him to learn more about the governor outside of politics.

“Break that barrier between him being this public, political official that we all look up to, to being a person we can relate to and how he’s dealing with this crisis on an everyday level,” said Knapp.

These students were asking questions about issues that mattered to them. Not just broad topics that make headlines.

“Definitely kids our age are thinking differently and more outside the box,” said Randolph.

The students also brought up hybrid learning, voter suppression, and how to bridge the gap between polarized political parties.

To watch the full discuss between Walz and Minnesota students, the recorded conversation on the governor’s YouTube page.

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Marielle Mohs