Students advocate for state
by Ann Hart Preus
May 02, 2013 | 1339 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Antwanette Keys (left), Jakyra Hicks, Sen. Roger Wicker, student chaperone Shenika King and Tyreik Burks in the senator’s office on Capitol Hill.
Antwanette Keys (left), Jakyra Hicks, Sen. Roger Wicker, student chaperone Shenika King and Tyreik Burks in the senator’s office on Capitol Hill.
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Students Tyreik Burks, Jakyra Hicks and Antwanette Keys, of Broad Street High School in Shelby, were awarded scholarships to attend Save the Children’s Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C April 10-11.

Shenika King, coordinator for the Early Steps to Schools Success for Save the Children in Shelby, accompanied the students on the trip.

While in Washington, students participated in panel discussions advocating for issues affecting children.

Keys received a standing ovation from the crowd when she said, “If you want something to change, be persistent.”

Burks, Hicks and Keys were selected by submitting an application.

They were the only representatives to the summit from Mississippi and were nominated by their teachers after demonstrating experience and interest in advocating on behalf of issues affecting youth.

Attendees came from 50 states and 13 countries.

The annual summit engages Save the Children staff, supporters and youth in the global humanitarian and relief organization’s efforts to ensure every child, in the U.S. and around the world is healthy, educated and protected.

For Keys, a senior at Broad Street, the highlight of the trip was speaking on the panel with other people involved in community service.

“I told the audience about my involvement in S.I.C.C. (Students Involved in Community Change) and Peer Power,” she said. “I would recommend this opportunity to others because it provided a broader leadership perspective to bring back to my community.”

King said, “Students had an opportunity to meet with Sen. Roger Wicker and talk to him about after-school programs and Head Start. They represented Bolivar County well.”

“This was my first time to go to Washington,” said Jakera Hicks, a ninth-grader. “It was a once in a lifetime chance. I learned how to help my community.”

For the students, seeing the sights and meeting new people who advocated for children and youth opened their eyes to new ideas.

Burks said, “I brought home my experiences to share with my family, friends and community and I learned to stand up for my beliefs and never give up.”