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State Sen. David Haley, D-4th Dist.,awarded four Wyandotte County students with cash prizes for their debate skills during the Second Annual Senator Haley WyCo Youth Policy Debate on Saturday, May 11, at the Kansas City Kansas Community College Performing Arts Center.
“We had nine participants from USD 500 schools compete as individuals this year in two divisions,” said Haley. “Each participant gave a three minute speech related to current issues of the Kansas Legislature – all, I heard, were great. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear all of them because I had to be in New York City to be on Up with Steve Kornaki, which aired Sunday morning.”
Haley created the event in 2012 as a way to encourage political awareness in Wyandotte County youth. It is open to all current or future students of the high schools of USD 500 (Harmon High School; Schlagle High School; Sumner Academy of Arts and Science; Washington High School; and Wyandotte High School).
“The ability to debate is a crucial part of being a successful, engaged citizen,” said Haley. “This event in particular allows teens an opportunity to articulate their societal concerns and youthful perspective in front of a community audience.”
At this year’s event, in the experienced division, Mylan Gray of Sumner Academy won and Luke Hogue of Arrowhead Middle School was named the runner-up. Both received $100 cash prizes. In the beginner division, LaTara Demery of Sumner Academy won and Thalia Hernandez of Sumner Academy was named the runner-up. They received $50 cash prizes.
Students were judged by Sen. Steve Fitzgerald (R-Leavenworth); Superintendent Cindy Lane, Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools; Gloria Willis, Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools board president; Brenda C. Jones, Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools board member; and Marolyn Kelley, treasurer for Haley for Senate. Trophies and cash prizes were provided in part by the Kansas Democratic Senatorial Committee and Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley.
Sen. Haley represents the 4th Senate District, which includes parts of Wyandotte County. He plans to bring the event back for a third year next spring.