Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum :

Vegas Area Students Participate In 23rd Annual SUN Youth Forum

The country’s future looks bright, if the 700 high school students who attended Friday’s SUN Youth Forum are a example of the nation’s leaders of tomorrow, one observer commented.

The reference was made about the junior and senior high school students participating in the 23rd annual SUN Youth Forum at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The all-day forum gave students the opportunity to express their views on such subjects like the right of homosexual teachers to work in Clark County schools and school administrators for not working closely with student councils.

According to the 40 students who attended the “School Daze” session moderated by Dr. Alonzo Wright, school administrators are often too concerned about offending parents and the general public and aren’t concerned enough to work with students.

Some of those participating in the “Cops, Crime and Courts” session believed that “Putting a criminal in jail is like sending him to college for crime.”

One young women in the session moderated by Peggy Phillips, said she thought capital punishment was necessary and better rehabilitation programs in prison are definitely needed.

Peals of laughter rang throughout the room conducting a discussion on pornography.

The group moderated by Harry Reid, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, had mixed opinions as to the propriety of having pornography so readily available via publications, television and motion pictures. Many of the students said they were not taught about sex at a young enough age to have a good understanding and viewpoint on the difference between sex and emotional involvements.

Greg Roach, 16, a student at Valley High School, was a member of a group discussing “Global Affairs.” He said there was a heavy debate on the advisability of the of the United States recognizing Taiwan and Red China as separate countries.

Martin Martin, 17, also of Valley, attended the “Inside USA” group, which talked about problems of mass transportation in the country about the local sewage problems.

“There seems to be inadequate drainage systems in the area,” said Martin, who is concerned about the number of houses being built without an apparently adequate sewage system.

Leslie Willyard, 16, a Western High School student, said she was in the “Life in the U.S.” group, which rated President Jimmy Carter’s administration as “poor to fair.”

“We felt he has good intentions, but he’s just not a leader,” said Leslie.

Amy Burr, 16, of Basic High School, said she thought the SUN Youth Forum was “great,” and a terrific learning experience.

Shaun Adams, 16, who also attends Basic, said her group was concerned with corruption in the government.

At Dan Newburn’s session on “Cops, Crimes and Courts,” the majority of participants thought juveniles’ names should be used by the media if they are considered suspects in crimes.

Sandy Woolsey, 16, of Indiana Springs High School, praised the forum and said it provides teenagers with a place to discuss mutual problems and exchange opinions.

“I think we need more of these types of events,” she said, and suggested this type of program be held at area high schools.

The annual form is coordinated by Ruthe Deskin of the SUN and Harvey Dondero of the Clark County School District.

This year’s moderators included: Las Vegas Mayor Bill Briare, James Gans, Jean Ford, Alonzo Wright, Dan Newburn, Peggy Phillips, Harry Reid, Janice Haupt, Col. Ed Brown, Richard De La Soto, Fernando Perez, Jim Bilbray, Zel Lowman and Dave Copper.

The Junior League of Las Vegas aided in registering students.

At the end of the afternoon session, each group voted on an individual to act as a summarist. Some will appear on television; other will have their reports published in the SUN.

Those selected to have their summaries printed in the SUN and their schools are: Leslie Hays, Chaparral; Mike Agosta, Chaparral; Shelli Bujalski, Chaparral; Tami Bass, Eldorado; Bridget Hughes, Bishop Gorman; Mark Maxson, Bishop Gorman; and Sherri Hess, Valley.

Appearing on television will be: Gary Robinson, Clark; Cliff Hannel, Valley; Mary Crane, Chaparral; Ron Hunter, Chaparral; Michelle Ashworth, Clark; Jeff Kemple, Clark; and Bill Kelly, Bishop Gorman.

Following panel discussions the students were entertained by singer John Davidson, comic Jerry Van Dyke and entertainer Pete Barbutti and his trio. The teenagers were also introduced to new talent, Doug Mattocks, who participated in a “Dueling Banjos” number with Van Dyke.