Fifth and seventh grade students and their teachers – over 2,200 – from the Clark County School District in southern Nevada focused on civic education and engagement at KidsVention on October 21, 2011, in Henderson, Nevada. KidsVention is the highlight of the year for these students, as they participate in this mini-political convention without partisan politics.
The event began with the presentation of the Colors and Flag Salute, led by the Basic High School Marine Corps JROTC, followed by the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Del Webb Middle School Concert Choir. Each school present was recognized during the “Roll Call of the States”. Students then listened to debates on current topics, presented by elected officials and debate students from Green Valley and Foothill High Schools. Elected officials that participated were Nevada State Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, Nevada State Senator Joe Hardy, Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow, and Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. The debate topics were: the United States should end its use of the penny, students should be allowed to use social network sites in class for educational purposes, suspension from school is an effective method of discipline, and school districts should be allowed to use advertising on school buses.
Local newsman, Gary Waddell of 8 News NOW (CBS), served as Master of Ceremonies, and the debate topics were introduced by Henderson City Mayor Andy Hafen, CCSD Board of Trustees Member Deanna Wright, Terri Janison of the Governor of Nevada’s office, and CCSD Deputy Superintendent Pedro Martinez. Students voted on each debate with great vigor!
The program also included choral presentations by George Dare, a local singer and composer, and included the back-up singers of the Del Webb Concert Choir. Their selections were “Let Freedom Ring “ (KVUSA’s theme song), “We Call Henderson Home”, and “Shine, Las Vegas”. All three numbers were composed by Mr. Dare. The program concluded with a presentation of “Sojourner Truth”, delivered by Kim Russell, a local performer; reading of the debate results, which were received with even more enthusiasm from the students; and a rendition of “America the Beautiful”, with audience participation and led by the Del Webb Choir.
KidsVention is organized and facilitated by the Board of Directors of Voices In Voting/Kids Voting Greater Las Vegas. Expenses for the event were covered by the Board partners, elected officials, SCE Federal Credit Union, SONEPCO Federal Credit Union, Silver State Schools Credit Union, 8 News NOW and their Community Pride partners, Wells Fargo, Clark County School District, Nevada PTA, League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley, NV Energy, City of Henderson and the Henderson Pavilion, Professional Fiduciary Services of Nevada, and a number of individuals.