Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

‘Back to School’

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LYAC member invites senator to address class

Eleanor Gilbert invited State Senator Robert Adley (R-Benton) to visit with students in the Junior class at Glenbrook School last week, because she is passionate about encouraging youth to participate in state matters.

This is the second year Gilbert has used her membership of the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) to invite a legislator to engage students at her school.

"This is a great opportunity to promote civic education in our schools and to speak to the students about public service and state government. It also provides the opportunity to engage students, our future leaders, in discussions on the issues that are most important to them," Senator Adley said. "It's my hope that our young people will understand the value of their civic involvement and also that their ideas and voices count."

Gilbert said she feels it is important to share her love of law and government with her classmates, which drives her to participate in LYAC. The youth council that makes up LYAC consists of twenty-one students from across the state, who act as a youth voice and represent the perspectives of teens to their legislators and other public officials.

"It is important that we, as students, understand the legislative process and the magnitude of our input and our vote," Gilbert said. "We are tomorrow's leaders, decision makers, and the ones who will have to abide by the decisions made by today's leaders. As adults, we will be more likely to listen to future generations if we remember that in our youth, decision-makers listened to us."

Gilbert said LYAC gives high school students a unique opportunity to be heard by state legislators, government department heads and leaders of civic and community groups.

"Not only do they hear our thoughts, they have to answer what may be pointed, uncomfortable questions," she said. "LYAC gives teenagers a voice where they have previously been ignored."

Gilbert has had the opportunity to meet with Gov. Bobby Jindal, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Secretary of State Tom Schedler and other elected officials. At LYAC's regular bi-monthly meetings members meet with state senators and representatives.

"It is exciting to offer recommendations and sometimes have a healthy debate," she said. "We were successful last year in initiating legislation, Senate Resolution 11 and House resolution 9, the Louisiana Community Services Endorsement Program. This includes a notion for a student's community service on Louisiana high school diplomas."

In addition to her involvement with LYAC, Gilbert stays busy with 10 years of piano and seven years of voice lessons under her belt, has completed 100 hours of community service, is Junior Class President, Chaplin of FBLA, a member of the Spanish Club, Glee Club and yearbook staff.

She is a cheerleader and is on her school's tennis team. She holds the title of 2013 Miss Minden Teen Princess and was first runner up in Apache Princess pageant in 2012.

Gilbert will be making her second appearance on Louisiana Public Broadcasting's Public Square, where she will be involved in a discussion on tax reform.

"The best part of the experience is the people I meet," Gilbert said. "Members of the group will likely be in positions of authority in a few years, because of the experience, the contact with current authorities and the inspiration of being involved in self government. I would encourage all high school students to consider applying for the 2013-2014 session."

The application period is now open for membership on the Louisiana's Legislative Youth Advisory Council. High school students who have an interest in representing the voices of other young people around the state should fill out an application by March 15.

Applications may be accessed online at civiced.louisiana.gov/.






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