Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010 | 1:47 p.m.
The mayors read prayers from different religions, but they all resonated the same sentiments: love, togetherness, faith and positivity.
“Guide us on the way of peace,” said a Muslim prayer read by Boulder City Mayor Roger Tobler. “Guide us from darkness to light.”
During the 2010 Mayors Prayer Breakfast, an event to celebrate diversity and bring together Las Vegas Valley high school students, prayers also were read by Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen, North Las Vegas Mayor Pro Tempore William Robinson and Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid.
More than 700 high school juniors and seniors attended the breakfast in a ballroom at Texas Station Hotel and Casino, after which the students could attend a town hall where they were able to ask city and education officials questions. The breakfast also featured performances by the Mariachi Los Vaqueros of Chaparral High School.
Carolyn Goodman, founder of The Meadows School and wife of Mayor Goodman, delivered the event’s keynote speech. The highlights of her speech were clear: If you don’t like something, she said, do something to change it. And if you work hard – even if you attend school in a poor public school system – it pays off.
Carolyn Goodman asked students to clasp their hands in prayer, and then open them – forming a cup.
“Guess whose cup you have? You have your cup,” she said.
“You own your own life, and no one is responsible for it but you,” she said, adding that good choices are important. “No excuses.”
Students and officials are living during a time of social, environmental and moral decay, Carolyn Goodman said. “Your generation is inheriting our generation’s mistakes,” she said.
She said diversity, and diverse solutions, could help transform the Clark County School District into one of the best school districts in the country – just like it was when she and Oscar first moved to town.
During the town hall meeting, students asked a range of questions about the state’s budget, college scholarships, sports and government.
Karli Kuhn, 17, a senior at Eldorado High School, said she enjoyed the breakfast and the town hall.
“I think it’s good for students to come to this,” she said. “A lot of students care. There’s good kids at every school.”
Lauren Kuenzi, 16, a junior at Clark High School, said she thought the breakfast and meeting were empowering.
“I think it taught us a valuable lesson about cooperation,” Kuenzi said of the prayer breakfast. “I think it reinforced the idea that everyone needs to work together.”
Judy Kropid, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Jim, said the event is important because it showcases the community’s diversity.
“We have to learn to live together,” Kropid said. “These students are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Each of the valley’s high schools decides which students to send to the event, she said. Each table is sponsored by donors. Proceeds from the event benefit Camp Anytown Las Vegas, a youth leadership development program.
Prayer plays an important role in the event because it is something that unifies, Kropid said. The event is modeled after the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
“For most people who believe, prayer is the strength of their life,” Kropid said. “Whatever or whoever they’re praying to is not important.”
Texas Station, modeled after the Lone Star State, is a AAA Three-Diamond rated hotel with 200 rooms, a casino, restaurants, bars and lounges, an entertainment showroom, a movie theater and a bowling center about six miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
It features 91,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,775 slots, 27 table games, a non-smoking poker room, a 500-seat bingo hall and a race and sports book.
The hotel has several dining options, from quick eateries to restaurants, including Austin's Steakhouse and Texas Star Oyster Bar. Some family-friendly features include an 18-screen movie theater and a bowling center.
South Padre provides live music weekly. The Dallas Events Center seats up to 2,000 people for concerts and other live performances.