Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008 | 6 a.m.
More than 950 students from 45 high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 52nd annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 20. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A spokesperson was chosen from each group to write for Class Magazine about the students' findings.
I would like to start by saying that this is my first year attending the Sun Youth Forum and I am honored to be in a room full of students that are ware of what is going on in the world today. I am also honored to be selected as a spokesperson of my group, which represents Teen Topics.
There have been many questions, comments and concerns discussed by students across Nevada during this year's Sun Youth Forum. Students have deliberated many pressing issues and topics that concern teenage youth in today's society. One of the topics our group deliberated on was the voting age. The question was, should the voting age be lowered to 16? This led to a very extensive debate. My personal opinion on the topic is neutral. I feel voting is a major responsibility and privilege. At the age of 16 most teens are worried about boyfriends and girlfriends and sometimes don't have the maturity to take on major responsibilities such as choosing our next leader.
However, some teenagers are politically active and should take part in their local general elections. There are few adults that vote, and teens having the right to vote it could increase voting percentage tremendously. As a teenager myself, I would love to have the right to vote because I am very opinionated and love to express my views in certain issues that are mentioned in today's society. I, as well as most teens, an interested in what will affect my society in both the short and long term. Civil liberties and age discrimination is another topic we discussed, with most students saying that people judge others based on first impressions more, without even knowing if a person is particularly older or younger.
Students also said that most people view another person's maturity level based on their age. In my personal opinion, there is a lot of age discrimination as far as teenagers are concerned. Many teenagers are underestimated because of the way other specific teenagers act. Parents also don't always trust their teenagers or believe they're mature enough to make their own decisions. The most important thing within the household is to overcome underestimation by gaining trust and maturity.
The next issue up for debate was "open campus." I think there should be an open campus at school because there are teenagers who can be responsible and take initiative to make it back in time for class. It seems the reason teenagers are prone to accidents during an open campus lunch i only because they are rushed to get back t school. School administration should thus let seniors who drive come in a little late. Accidents of the past shouldn't have such an effect on privileges of the future.
This all comes down to responsibility. As we all know, not all students will be responsible if given such a privilege. The need to understand that it is, in fact, a privilege. I feel that if the school administration dealt with the issue further they could allow students to have an open campus with terms and conditions that regulate the time away from school and promote student responsibility.
The final topic of discussion at the Sun Youth Forum was pre-marital sex. Is saving one's virginity for marriage an outdated tradition? Most of the youth present said it was based on personal choices, beliefs and morals. To call it a "tradition" in itself is outdated because of personal decision. The thoughts and temptations are there because it's not as common to save one's virginity for marriage in today's society. There are several deciding factors, both good and bad, that influence an individual's decision to have pre-marital sex.
In conclusion, from religion to politics to everything in between, we youth have a lot to discuss. Although we might not look like it, we also have a lot of questions and opinions that need to be expressed and acknowledged. Don't let our age fool you; don't believe that wisdom is only for the "older" crowd. You learn from the old as well as from the new.
Saulter is a senior at Western High School whose gorup covered Teen Topics.