Mustang, Yukon and El Reno students share their views, opinions, solutions with community leaders
Canadian County youth are being encouraged to shine bright, as evidenced by the 2017 Speak Out Conference held Friday at the Mustang Town Center.
The conference brings local youth together to share their thoughts on various topics with community leaders from their respective communities and the county.
Leading the charge for this year’s event was Mustang High School’s very own, Case Woodard as moderator.
“I think we had a good turnout, “Woodard said. “There were some very good topics and speeches presented to the listening panel and I think overall we had a successful turnout!”
MHS was joined by middle school students, as well as El Reno and Yukon High Schools in speaking at the conference.
The students spoke in three sessions, addressing topics like medical absences, spirituality, graduation, depression and bus routes. They had three minutes to explain their issue, its challenges and present a solution.
Kim Baker coordinates student ambassadors involved in the Mustang Prevention and Coalition Team, also known as MPACT, with the community.
Two years ago, Baker said the group focused on tobacco legislation and now they are promoting the prescription drug turn-in at the Mustang Police Department.
“We are always against smoking but also always promote healthy eating,” she said.
The Speak Out conference, Baker explained, was started in either 1998-1999 as a listening conference with every school in the county participating. The event has undergone some changes, including a few years of taking a break. She said when it went away at the countywide level, Mustang kept the event going.
Baker said the conference gives students the opportunity to voice their ideas and to also understand the financial the financial costs related to their issue.
“Sometimes it’s a little reality check with those community leaders,” she said. “We have had good success with students teaming up students with community leaders.”
In Mustang, Baker said matters on parking lots and traffic has been resolved as a result of Speak Out.
“We don’t sensor them; we just help guide and coach them,” Baker said. “The kids plan it and are in charge of it. It’s ones of those things, us adults, just hang on for the ride.”
Students listed in the program as participating along with their topic (note: participants/topics were subject to change) included:
Mustang High School: Halle Edwards and Perry Edwards – Students Assisting Students, Brady Davis – religion in school, Camille Kitchens – new student programs, Izabella Valdez – charitable fundraising, Anaka Brooks – principal’s leadership council, Morgan Meyer – nutrition requirement in curriculum, Emma White – graduation requirements and Zachary Myers – extra-curriculum funding.
Mustang Middle Schools: Macey Walker (North) – mentor program, and Parris Morris and Kenzie Cobb (MMS) – after-effects of suicide.
Yukon High School: Olive Payne – medical absences, Samantha Kittell – stress, Hailee Thompson – graduation, Cristen Rupel – sex education, Elizabeth Gibson – spirituality in school, Anna Langert – verbal abuse, Sarah Gregory and Olivia Knight – alcohol prevention, Gabby Beck – sexism in school, Kalie Winstead – depression, Esperanza Gooden – suicide, Jessica Roblez – dating abuse, Rachel Lasley – abuse, Laekyn Ritter – nutrition and Aubrie Davis – happiness.
Yukon Middle School: Shelby Kittell – groups and cliques and Brooklin Mathers (YHS) and Kenna Mock (YMS) – bullying.
El Reno High School: Tycie Claborn – community center, Malik Rochdi – mentor program, Kaci Maguire and Kaitlyn Taber – college readiness/life skills, Destiny Bailey – world history, Brady Davis – world history, Gabi Decaney – lunch in Yukon, Mary Anne Whetsone and Sam Connor – track and field, Jasmine Craig and Jadie Hokett – hosting tournament, Jadie Hokett – buttons on doors, Malik Rochdi – Channel 18, Emily Ryan – stop lights, Katie Shea and Jaden Biswell – new desks and Zoie Cogburn – elementary bus route.
The event was sponsored by the El Reno Leadership Class, MPACT Mustang Prevention and Coalition Team and Yu Can Coalition.