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April 24, 2014

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WHERE I STAND:

Sun Youth Forum: Improving education is critical for the future

Alexander Kolyszko of Palo Verde High School - 2011 Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum representative Tuesday, November 22, 2011.

Alexander Kolyszko of Palo Verde High School - 2011 Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum representative Tuesday, November 22, 2011.

About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 55th annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 22. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. Alexander Kolyszko of Palo Verde High School writes about issues covered by his group, “America.”

The future of America lies with its youth. Most teens in America are not involved or do not wish to be involved in American politics or social issues. The youth in America are incredibly apathetic. In Las Vegas, those who do care about our country’s future attended the 2011 Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum. Hundreds upon hundreds of students participated in intellectual discussions about issues around the globe.

In my room there were roughly 30 individuals. Our topic was America. We decided to discuss only four major issues: illegal immigration; government interference with individual matters, such as abortion and gay marriage; the U.S. economy; and foreign entanglements. What we discovered very quickly was that policymakers have a hard time solving these issues. It is no easy task.

Jokingly, we all concluded that we should be legislators and congressmen because we could get the job done. Every person in the room was part of a group that had to create a solution for one of these four issues. I was lucky enough to try to solve “the Great Recession.”

The first topic: immigration. Surprisingly enough, most of the teens either were very close to center politically or just left of center. We came to the conclusion that a pathway to citizenship must be easily accessible to those who wish to become a U.S. citizen. In turn, this can help solve our problems concerning illegal immigrants. One participant has been working toward citizenship for years. Those who come to America want to work and want to participate in a wealthy nation’s economy. Our group working on this topic concluded that reform dealing with the pathway to citizenship was necessary for our country.

Abortion and gay marriage are very touchy subjects. We did not discuss abortion at all, surprisingly enough. In great detail, we did speak about gay marriage. The group decided, to ease the tension between those for and against gay marriage, to change the definition of a marriage to simply a civil union. But what everyone agreed upon was that gay marriages should be allowed because equality is one of the basic principles of any democracy. Our country has to move away from its homophobic state of mind, not embrace it.

Dealing with foreign affairs, we quickly decided that we must maintain a presence around the world, economically and militarily. America is a world power, and we must maintain checks on the rest of the world. But we would also like to see a large portion of the money spent on other nations spent on our own.

Now let us discuss the big issue: America’s economy. I was the spokesman for this group. We stated that America needs to reallocate funds to what America needs the most: education. We spend far too much on some of the least important concerns. We need to get rid of tax loopholes, create new industries leading to new jobs and urge our youth to care.

In conclusion, to solve most of America’s problems, we only need one thing: education. Education is the gateway to success.

All of these students who spoke and gave their opinions were very insightful and intelligent. We, as teenagers, want our voices to be heard. We, more than any other group, keep our minds open to new ideas. The Sun Youth Forum exhibited to me the potential plethora of knowledgeable youth in America. If we keep it up, our nation will be moving in the right direction.