Las Vegas Sun

December 20, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum Bios - 2012

About 1,000 students from 52 high schools across the Las Vegas Valley participated Tuesday in the 56th annual Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum. Here's a closer look at 10 of the attendees, chosen at random.


    Youth Forum
  • Zachary Hillstead

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Valley
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Volleyball
  • Favorite Book: "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Favorite Movie: "Dark Knight Rises"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Kendrick Lamar
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education, because I plan on going to college and education will be a big part of my life. Class sizes keeping getting bigger. Soon kids will have to sit on the ground.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The war in Afghanistan.
  • Plans: I'd like to join the military, the Navy, and then become an air-traffic controller.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? As a unique white boy that is different from all the other white kids.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? Whole life.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: There's always something to do.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: Poverty.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I feel like if you don't go to college there's not much hope. It's possible to get a job, but it'd definitely be more difficult without college.
    Youth Forum
  • Beyana Harper

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Valley
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Journalism
  • Favorite Book: "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Favorite Movie: "Drive"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Circa Survive
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education, because they did not pass the bill to raise taxes during the election. Paying for education is important and I don't know how Nevada will do it.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: I'm concerned with our debt to China because I feel like it hinders the growth of the United States and limits the country's influence.
  • Plans: I want to go to college for writing and journalism. I'm leaning toward being a journalist, but I'm not sure.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? I want people to recognize me for all of my accomplishments after school.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 15 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: The diversity, there are people from all walks of life.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: The casinos and gambling.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I do feel like college will help because it shows that you've continued to progress and are more knowledgeable than those you are competing against for jobs.
    Youth Forum
  • Jenna Smith

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Spring Valley
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Forensics, track
  • Favorite Book: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Favorite Movie: "Perks of Being a Wallflower"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Temper Trap, Sea Wolf
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: The education budget concerns me. As a student you really notice the effects of cutbacks in terms of supplies and class sizes. Most of my classes have more than 40 students.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The conflict between Israel and Iran and their nuclear capabilities. A war between them could affect us all.
  • Plans: I want to go to San Diego State University and be a forensic psychologist.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? I want people to remember me as the person who helped younger kids get acquainted and made a difference.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 16 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: Going to casinos and people-watching.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: It's so hot.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: It's possible I could get a job, but it probably wouldn't be the one I want. I definitely think a lot of jobs now require at least a bachelor's degree.
    Youth Forum
  • Sammi Tso

  • Age: 18
  • High School: Desert Oasis
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Basketball, student council
  • Favorite Book: "Sweet Valley High" by Francine Pascal
  • Favorite Movie: "She's the Man"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Chris Brown
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Lack of proper funding for education concerns me. Because I'm in Advanced Placement classes the class sizes are not so big, like 30 to 35, but the younger students have classes of 50 students.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: What concerns me is the United States dropping in its status among other countries; we are falling off in education, economy, everything.
  • Plans: I want to go to college out of state and study business. I want to be a CEO.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? I want people to remember me as a person who was involved and always willing to help.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? Whole life.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: Nighttime summer weather.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: Daytime summer weather.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I'm optimistic about getting a job, because I hope internships in college will provide opportunities. I think you are much more likely to get a job if you go to college.
    Youth Forum
  • Brandon Boone

  • Age: 18
  • High School: Basic
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Football, volleyball, student body president
  • Favorite Book: "A Child Called 'it'" by Dave Pelzer
  • Favorite Movie: "The Hurt Locker"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Lifehouse
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: I'm most concerned about education funding because it directly affects me. I've seen how much my school is in need of money, and how much it would help to have increased funding. Our textbooks still say Clinton is president.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: Terrorism, because that's something that comes right back to affect us here.
  • Plans: I want to go to college and study engineering, and possibly go into college teaching.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? I want people to remember me as the student body president, as someone who set an example and was looked up to.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? Whole life.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: All the different restaurants and attractions.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: Drunk people and the whole "24-hour party town" label.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I'm not very optimistic, but engineers are supposedly a little better off than other professions. I think college makes a huge difference. People are already struggling to get jobs, and the most qualified people will get them.
    Youth Forum
  • Evette Brandstadter

  • Age: 17
  • High School: College of Southern Nevada High School
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: National Honor Society President
  • Favorite Book: "House of Leaves" by Mark Danielewski
  • Favorite Movie: "Inglourious Basterds"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Minus the Bear
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education funding. I think the more you invest in the future, the better it will turn out.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The national debt.
  • Plans: I plan on going into dental hygiene.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? I don't want to be remembered.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 13 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: There's so much stuff to do.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: The bipolar weather.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I think going to college makes a huge difference. A college education makes it 1 million times easier to find a job.
    Youth Forum
  • Amy Ross

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Canyon Springs
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: Band, ROTC, Key Club, debate, tennis, softball
  • Favorite Book: "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
  • Favorite Movie: "Breakfast Club"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Mumford and Sons
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education. It's crucial to succeed in life and Nevada is ranked second lowest in the nation in terms of education.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The economy. Our generation is going to be left with these economic issues, like the debt.
  • Plans: I want to go to college, hopefully the University of Southern California, to do band and study pre-med. I want to be a surgeon.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? As outgoing, and although maybe I didn't succeed in everything, I tried to.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 8 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: It's less crowded than California.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: There's lots of homeless people.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I'm worried about getting a job. I've been looking for one and it's hard as a teenager. I think going to college opens up more options for me.
    Youth Forum
  • Tyler Stevens

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Spring Valley
  • Class: 2014
  • Clubs/Activities: Student council, football, basketball, track
  • Favorite Book: "The Firm" by John Grisham
  • Favorite Movie: "The Dark Knight Rises"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Tom Petty
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Lack of school funding. A lot of programs are being cut. Students are less happy and less excited about school because they don't have the classes they want.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The national deficit and the economy. I'll be starting to look for jobs soon and it's scary to think I'll be coming into an economy where there aren't many to be had.
  • Plans: I want to study physical therapy at the University of Utah and start my own physical therapy practice.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? As the athlete who was also good at academics, who made it outside of the field or court.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 12 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: There are opportunities to meet a lot of new people.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: There's not a lot of stuff you can do as a kid, most of it's more adult centered.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I think college definitely makes a difference. In this job market it won't be easy to find a job right away. College opens doors to lots of career opportunities.
    Youth Forum
  • Alan Madrigal

  • Age: 18
  • High School: Clark
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: I work after school at a comic book store.
  • Favorite Book: "Doctor Who" and "Star Trek" cross-over comic
  • Favorite Movie: "The Terminator"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? FIDLAR
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education. Classes are extremely overpopulated. I have a class with 50 kids in it, which makes it hard to learn.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: Our presence in countries that are having difficulties, especially in the Middle East. I don't think we should play big brother.
  • Plans: Maybe attend college. I'm a stand-up comedian and play in a band and I want to pursue a career doing that.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? As the kid who wanted to meet as many people as possible.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 10 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: It's so diverse, you meet so many different people.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: How few venues there are for people under 21. Everything's Strip-centric.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: Everyone's looking for a job. I'm optimistic though. If you have a good resume, it makes it easier. Going to college will help with that.
    Youth Forum
  • Kyle Ivey

  • Age: 17
  • High School: Las Vegas Academy
  • Class: 2013
  • Clubs/Activities: National Honor Society president, involved in theater productions
  • Favorite Book: "1984" by George Orwell
  • Favorite Movie: "Prometheus"
  • What Are You Listening to on Your iPod? Coldplay
  • Current Nevada Issue That Most Concerns You: Education. It's important that we look at ways to make it more effective so businesses will want to hire graduates.
  • Current World Issue That Most Concerns You: The Israel-Palestine conflict. It's been happening for so long, I feel this time they should work out ways for Israelis and Palestinians to come together, but I realize that's idealistic.
  • Plans: I'm applying to colleges to study theater. My top choice is Carnegie Mellon University.
  • How do You Want to be Remembered at Your High School Reunion? As the overachiever.
  • How Long Have you Been in Las Vegas? 12 years.
  • Best Part About Living in Las Vegas: The diversity of people. People come here from all over the world.
  • Worst Part About Living in Las Vegas: The emphasis on gambling, smoking and other illicit activities.
  • How optimistic are you about getting a job in this economy? Do you think going to college will help?: I'm somewhat optimistic about getting a job. Getting a college education is essential to getting a job.

Compiled by Sun reporters Tovin Lapan and Conor Shine.