• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS student delegation participates in KYA

A DELEGATION OF EXCELLENCE represented Woodford County High School at the 2017 Kentucky Youth Assembly. From left are front, Ginny Gregory, Ellie Clay, Caroline Miller, Allison Miller, Abigail Mortell and Tony Brock; second row, Maggie Carney, Kate Moran, Erin Lawson, Rachel Vascassenno and Emily Melcher; third row, Olivia Raybourne, Kristin Taylor and Sophie Edelen; and back row, Parker Raybourne, Carter Smith and Ginny Hallman. Not pictured, but also KYA participants, are Eric Allison, Tessa Brengelman, Abigail Cheek, Caleigh Evans, Regan Martin, Saige Miracle, Sarah Potts, Adie Preston, Sara Beth Shrader, Christine Slover and Mikayla Spencer. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Participating in the Kentucky Youth Assembly (and being named a 2017 Delegation of Excellence) was an opportunity for a group of students from Woodford County High School to play a role in the political process, and learn how an idea becomes a law in state government. The legislative experience helped WCHS junior Sophie Edelen, who earned an Outstanding Media Award as an assistant editor overseeing legislative coverage, realize that if she and other students want to pursue "a future in politics it's not beyond your reach. That's something that really drew me" to KYA. "This made me realize I wanted to have a career in politics," added Erin Lawson. The WCHS sophomore wants to have an opportunity to help fix a system that's seemingly broken in the minds of many. Being able to hear the views of students from other parts of Kentucky was "really powerful" for WCHS junior Parker Raybourne. He said those views were shared "peacefully and calmly" to come up with solutions for problems facing the citizens of Kentucky. Bill sponsors Erin Lawson, Kate Moran and Maggie Carney wrote legislation mandating school districts obtain Narcan, which can reverse and prevent death from a heroin or opiate overdose. The growing number of heroin overdoses in this and other Kentucky counties inspired them to write their proposed legislation, which was defeated in the House. A second bill sponsored by juniors Tessa Brengelman, Sarah Potts and Kristen Taylor would require the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to add 3D printing to its list of practices regulated. The legislation passed the KYA House and Senate, and Tessa was an Outstanding Delegate. Lobbyist Carter Smith penned "talking points" for bills written by students from his WCHS delegation and other delegations as well. "It was really fun. It was really stressful, too," he said of his experience sprinting from place to place while lobbying for different legislation. Regardless of the legislative outcome, Allison Miller said she enjoyed meeting students from other counties and forming strong bonds with her peers in the WCHS delegation. "We've gotten really, really close - all of us - because we spend so much time together working on this stuff," added Allison. "It feels like you're part of a big family." WCHS sophomore Abigail Mortell hopes to become a lawyer someday so being able to participate on the judicial team at KYA also gave her real-world experience. She met students from across Kentucky who share her interest in the law, but may have opposing views. "As they get older and they get towards that magic age of 18 when they have the right to vote - they begin to see how powerful their voice is and how they can affect the legislative process," said WCHS social studies teacher and KYA sponsor Sioux Finney. "So hopefully, some of these civic leaders are going to be . active at the local level and let their voices be heard," she added. KYA is a three-day learning program of the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association that allows middle and high school students to participate in a model state government.

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