KYA Debates with Other Kentucky Schools


Maddie Abner, Writer

The Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) is a three-day learning meeting where understudies take part in a mock government. Going about as Senators and Representatives, understudies compose discussions and decisions on regulation that influence them. As competitors, understudies take an interest in exercises that show the cycles of state a majority rule government. As backers and judges, understudies contend and pass judgment on a lawful case in the genuine Kentucky Supreme Court chambers. Officials chosen by understudies fill in as Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and are designated to other gathering administrative roles.

Middle schools from all over the state compete in KYA. In Lexington, Kentucky groups from each school met and discuss their ideas. Some of the issues that are proposed are the same ones being debated in the actual Kentucky congress. These ideas include conversion therapy, drug abuse, climate change, food insecurity, and sports gambling. One school even proposed an idea that if a parent has abused anyone in the household in any way they can only visit children with supervision. “In Highlands Middle School students have proposed bills about animal abuse,” said Mr. Eric Shufflebarger, KYA advisor. The students have proposed an expanded mental health treatment bill for those convicted of animal abuse.

The students who are in the Kentucky Youth Assembly enjoy it and recommend joining for students interested in the state government. Warren Deaton says, “It is a great leadership opportunity, and it allows you to gain more knowledge about state government”. Students that are in Kentucky Youth Assembly start day one in Lexington with congressional meetings and debates. On day two they have candidate speeches. Their last day in Lexington consists of a General Assembly. After all, this is over with they reflect on how they did in that season. Many students enjoyed their time in the Kentucky Youth Assembly. Mr. Shufflebarger said, “My favorite part of coaching these students is seeing them have the opportunity to put themselves in unfamiliar situations to find out that they have ability and confidence they didn’t know they had. They find it’s something that they enjoy.”

Not every part about being a member of the KYA is easy. There are some obstacles. Warren Deaton said, “Communicating with your peers is one of the hardest things we have to overcome.”. One student has an idea for a bill that they think will benefit them, but another student dislikes that idea and is more fond of their own. It may result in conflict. The way to succeed in this club is by making accommodations and compromises based on others’ thoughts. Mr. Shufflebarger, said, “The biggest thing is coming up with ideas for a bill. The ideas that aren’t in the front of a student’s mind.”

Anyone interested in the state government should consider joining the Kentucky Youth Assembly! It is offered to seventh and eighth-graders.




Pictured above is the 7th and 8th grade team holding their awards on the final day of the assembly. Both teams got their bill passed in the House of Representatives and in the Senate and signed by the student governor. Additionally, Morgan Davis and Darian Robinson won individual awards, with Davis winning outstanding speaker and Robinson winning outstanding delegate.

Top photo is the 8th grade KYA team, Hannah Nieporte, Morgan Davis, Darian Robinson, and Graham Borden presenting their bill in the Senate chamber.