The two students spent a week in Topeka this past summer.
Turner High School was proud to send two students, Samiyah Parker and Tanor Williamson, to represent the school at the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum (KYLF) this past summer. Held at Washburn University in Topeka and hosted by the Kansas Youth Empowerment Academy, this competitive program invites student leaders who are passionate about making a difference in their communities.
To be eligible, a student must reside in Kansas, have a disability (as defined by the Americans with Disability Act), be 11th, 12th or in a 18-21 transition program, and have demonstrated leadership potential or interest in school and the community. Applications are received from all over the state and only 23 students were selected.
About the application process, Tanor Williamson shared, "When I found out I was selected, I felt a whirlwind of emotions: surprise, excitement, and a little nervousness.” It was a challenging application process that involved filling out a detailed form, securing two letters of recommendation, creating a self-tape, and attending an in-person interview. Given the high number of applicants and two months of waiting to hear back, one can understand the immense excitement he felt about being chosen. In addition to the acceptance letter, he received congratulatory notes from two Kansas Senators.
For Tanor, this weeklong forum was the first time he was away from home. Although he was nervous, once at the forum, Tanor found himself immersed in enriching experiences. “What I liked most about my experience at the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum was all of the new friends I met. I also loved our visit to the Kansas Capital and having the opportunity to participate in a senator discussion about school safety.” During this discussion, Tanor was able to share his own personal views and ideas on how to improve safety in schools.
In addition to the leadership activities, the forum also allowed attendees like Tanor to develop self-advocacy skills. He shared, "While at KYLF, I realized I'm not the only one with disabilities. It opened my eyes to the importance of self-advocacy and the power of speaking for oneself."
About the honor, teacher Dawn Diaz said, “Samiyah and Tanor represented Turner proudly and left a positive impression on the KYEA. Both students were deserving of this honor, and I am proud of them both.”
USD 202 is grateful for state-level opportunities like these, which allow students to grow, learn, and represent their community with pride. Congratulations to Samiyah and Tanor on their achievement and leadership at Turner High School.