Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum :

Enthusiasm, Laughter Mark Youth Forum

Intelligent discussion combined with enthusiasm and laughter marked the 20th Annual SUN Youth Forum which was held yesterday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More than 700 highs school students representing 15 schools throughout the Southern Nevada area exchanged ideas on topics ranging from “The age a person should legally be allowed to drink alcoholic beverages” to “The quantity of teachers in the Clark County School District.”

The Forum which is co-sponsored by the Las Vegas SUN and the Clark County School District, gives students a chance to speak out on a variety of subjects which previously have been selected.

The 40 students attending the education session moderated by John Wawena believed that high school teachers were spending too much time teaching subjects than teaching students.

One teenage girl said, “We’re not tape recorders.”

Clark County School Superintendent Kenny Guinn was visiting the session when the students voiced their hopes that high school teachers would start to stress students thinking for themselves. The group said the basics of education should begin to be taught in elementary school.

Students attending the education session moderated by former Nevada Lt. Gov. Harry Reid, were considering the importance of having a dress code at the schools and whether physical education should be mandatory course.

It was suggested that at least one year of physical education be taken but that it would be fairer to eliminate grades in that course and just a passing or failing mark.

Peals of laughter broke up the moments of serious debate in the crime and punishment seminar moderated by Brian Greenspun.

Once again, as in past Forums, the question of legalizing prostitution was one of the main topics in this area. Students became emotional and even related situations with which they were personally familiar, when prostitution in relation to marriage was debated.

Most people believed in was better for a married man to have sexual relations with a prostitute rather than becoming physically and emotionally involved with another women other than his wife.

Heated discussion also centered around the subject of the death penalty.

Some students were incensed at the thought that one man, such as a judge, would take it upon himself to take another person’s life.

However, other students said in certain situations, the death penalty was necessary and acted as a deterrent to murder.

Crime and punishment was also the concern of the group of students moderated by State Sen. Richard Bryan.

The teenagers were strongly in support of having restricted smoking areas in restaurants and other public places.

Dr. Heinze Retting moderated a discussion on state and local government where it came to the light that teenagers think the newspapers and television should have more advanced notice of governmental agency meetings.

The students expressed the view that it was important for the public to attend such meetings but it is sometimes difficult to establish when the various boards and commissions meet.

Students in the group Zel Lowman was moderating were concerned with the legal age a person can drink and gamble.

One young man said “You can go and die for your country but you can’t drink in it if you are 18 years old.”

Students were mixed in their opinion whether 18-year-olds should be allowed to legally gamble, but were slightly more in favor of lowering the drinking age.

Public meetings again came under discussion in a group moderated by Versiellen Gray.

Students in the “Civil Rights, Politics, Media” session agreed that public officials should not meet in private over public matters.

It was also the opinion of the students that public have to be accountable to the public and if they do wrong, they should not be reelected.

Other moderators for the sessions included: James Bilbray, Judy Carlos, Peggy Phillips and Dr. Bernie Greenblat.

Coordinators for the event were Ruthe Deskin of the SUN and Harvey Dondero of the school district.

During the end of the afternoon session, each group voted on an individual to be a summarist - some for television and the other to have his summary appear in the SUN.

Those selected to have their summaries in the SUN and the schools they represent include: Dave Childers, Rancho; Melody Tappin, Chaparral, Joe Poladian, Gorman; Cindy Clark, Rancho; Michael Guy, Gorman; Lisa Krutz, Las Vegas High School and Ray Marino, Gorman.

Appearing on television will be: La Dawn Naegle, Chapparal; Adriana Escobar, Gorman; Kelley Tuchman, Valley; Lynn Park, Clark; Bill Sagel, Gorman; Sandy Fuller, Clark and Marcus Brown, Western.

Serving as recorders for the groups were: Tracy Record, Valley; Julie Stewart, Western; Tammy Barr, Eldorado; Debbie Lee, Western; Lynn Sheckler, Eldorado; Gina Fitch, Vo-Tech and Afton Koontz, Eldorado.

Others include: Shelly Miller, Clark; Kelly Pommier, Vo Tech; Renee Enns, Rancho and Terri Lorenz, Rancho.