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KYA: Changing Kentucky One Bill at a Time
By: Maggie Jennings

KYA is place where students gather from all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This assembly is a three-day conference that students attend to learn how the state government works and participate first-hand in a model of the state government. Students gather in Louisville at the Crown Plaza Hotel and also travel to the Capitol Building in Frankfort to present bills on topics they believe will better our state. These bills are inspired by current political issues and are often heated and controversial. Student bill authors get to present their bills, and other students get the opportunity to voice their opinion on whether they think the bill should be passed into law or not. Students even get to vote on the bills.

In addition to the bills, KYA has a governor, another essential part of the state government. Grayson County has had exciting representation in this competitive KYA office. The past three years the KYA governor has been one of our own Grayson County students! In 2016 Payton Abney was governor; then she passed on the title to Bailey Richardson, who then passed the title down to CJ Johnston. Watching CJ preside as KYA governor at this year’s conference was a great experience. This year, we had another student, Dawson Gorby, running for presiding officer. He pulled out another big win for our school, placing second. Next year, Dawson will be acting as Speaker of the House, presiding over a room at the Capitol in Frankfort. 

It takes a lot to run a state government, even a model one. There are other roles, in addition to serving as governor and students presenting and debating bills. This year we also sponsored two committee chair members: Nolan Hornbeck and Alex Hazelwood. This means they ran the rooms acting as the presiding officer, leading and facilitating debate over bills. We also sponsored a clerk: Austin Walker, who helped the chair to keep time and announce titles of bills. He had the honor of serving as clerk in the house chamber at the Capitol.
To show our community what KYA is all about, our school also sponsors a media team, who goes around and captures many of the exciting moments at KYA. We snap pictures and record our students engaging in the state government: presenting bills, debating, and taking a trip to Frankfort. This year our media representative was Maggie Jennings. We also sponsored two parliamentarians/doorkeepers: Allie Jo Morgan and George Huff, how help make sure things go smoothly during the presentation and debate of bills.

At this year's conference Grayson County sponsored four bills. All four of these bills passed at Frankfort! This means they were passed by both the house and senate, and signed by the governor. This is the first time all of our bills were ranked high enough to be presented at Frankfort (a selective honor) and passed in both chambers. 
Our first bill, “An Act To Require Every Public School In Kentucky To Have A School Resource Officer” was presented by Amelia Hayes, Greyson Chaffins, Houston Brooks, and Zak Bratcher. We also presented the bill “An Act To Require All School Employees To Obtain and Keep Their CPR Certification,” an effort that included Averi Decker, Heaven Logsdon, Elli Hester, and Sydney Powell. Luke Milliner, Colton Glenn, Paul Overton, and Griffin Powell presented “An Act Relating To Protecting Unattended Pets In A Vehicle.” And finally, “An Act Relating To Giving The Option To Remain Anonymous In Winning The Lottery” was presented by Maggie Cox, Jordan Grant, Kaylee Hodges, and Landon Shiarella. 

At this year’s conference, there were a total of 35 other schools. Out of all 35 schools, Grayson County was voted Best Delegation at the conference, which is the highest award you can win! This means other school sponsors and the Y staff selected our school as the best delegation there. This is a huge honor for our school, and makes several times we have won the best delegation award in the past ten years. Several students from our school also came home with Outstanding Speaker awards, given to those who show very strong and meaningful debates and commentary on bills, throughout the conference. These students included Alex Hazelwood, Cooper Lee, Madison Stamper, and Annslee Shartzer. As you can see, Grayson County had another outstanding year at the KYA conference! I was glad to be a part of it, and we all can’t wait until next year’s KYA rolls around.
Delegates in Action
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Grayson County Schools District Office

790 Shaw Station Road, Leitchfield, KY 42754
Phone: 270.259.4011
Fax: 270.259.4756

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