Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum :

400 County Students Air Top Issues; SUN Youth Forum Concludes Tonight

Words of wisdom from tomorrow’s leaders flowed on rivers of thought during yesterday’s sixth annual SUN Youth Forum which will be summarized tonight by the 13 finalists.

The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in the rotunda of the Convention Center and will be followed by “A Salute from the Stars” featuring top entertainment artists from the Strip.

Subjects to be summarized range from music to racial problems.

The 400 students participating yesterday were impressed by the fact that they really got a chance to express their own opinions in such an informal atmosphere. There foreign exchange students from three of the high schools agreed that the discussions were much more serious than usual classroom discussions.

Seven topics were discussed yesterday in 13 panels comprised from Southern Nevada high schools. The high schools represented were Las Vegas High, Rancho, Gorman, Moapa Valley, Boulder City High, Western, Virgin Valley and Basic.

Music, international affairs, law enforcement, teenager behavior, education and racial problems were given thoughtful consideration which brought forth some unsual comments.

“We should shake out rockets and let Russia shake in her boots,” was a youth’s opinion in the discussion on international affairs.

“Patriotism isn’t something you have to stand up and shout about,” exclaimed a participant in the panel on national affairs.

“You can’t judge a whole race by what a few do,” was the conclusion reached by a teenager girl in discussing racial affairs.

The panel on music, conducted by Lewis Elias and Cecil Bickhart, discussed the influence of music on relationships between nations. It was brought out that in music, national boundaries are forgotten and that a country’s music often conveys a good picture of the country itself.

“The pure thought of communism isn’t even entering the Soviet or Cuban picture,” thoughtfully said one participant in the discussion on international affairs. The panels, moderated by Dr. Eleanor Bushnell and Dr. S. Saltzman, emphasized the fact that the United States should stand up to Russia. “They’ve got us where we’re afraid,” commented one panelist.

Labor unions, wages and patriotism brought forth many opinions from the panel on national affairs conducted by Jim Miss and Zel Lowman.

“The only way to stop inflation is to go into depression and start all over again,” jokingly exclaimed one youth. The idea that joining a union is compulsory was not favored by most of the panelists. It was brought out that patriotism isn’t just “chest beating” and flag waving, that it is more basic and found to some degree in everyone.

Curfew was the main point of discussion in the law enforcement panel moderated by Donal (Mike) O’Callaghan and Irving Katz. “Curfew is designed to protect you from yourself,” explained a juvenile officer from the Sheriff’s Department. The students related some personal experiences and asked many questions.

A different technique was used by Charles Cheaham, one of the moderators of the discussion on teenage behavior. On the assumption that actions speak louder than words, volunteers presented skits on situations which teenagers might actually encounter. The panel conducted by Mrs. Wendell Bunker talked about relations between teenagers and parents. It was agreed that the teenagers can have fun with their parents, if the parents treat them as an equal.

The question of whether a student should be segregated according to his ability was one of the main points of discussion in the panels on education, conducted by Mrs. Peggy Hyde and William Briare. Scholarships and the value of foreign languages were also mentioned.

“People who are prejudiced usually speak a little louder,” observed one panelist on the question of racial problems moderated by John Wawerna and Dr. Paul McCulloch. One Negro girl was very frank in stating that she thought many people of her race have a chip on their shoulder. It was agreed that intermarriage will gradually become accepted.

The SUN Youth Forum committee includes Harvey Dondero, acting school superintendent; Jim Williams; Hank Greenspun, publisher of the SUN; Ruthe Deskin, assistant to Hank Greenspun; Jack Entratter, president of the Sands; Eleanor Roth and Al Freeman.

The SUN Youth Forum finale, to be presented in the Rotunda of the Convention Center, is open to the public free of charge. The Optimist International members will be special guests in honor of their own “Youth Appreciation Week.”