Where I Stand: Don’t be afraid to be yourself

Editor’s note: About 1,000 students from high schools throughout Southern Nevada participated in the 62nd annual Sun Youth Forum on Nov. 29. The students were divided into groups to discuss a variety of topics. A representative was chosen from each group to write a column about the students’ findings. This essay addresses the issues covered by the Potpourri group.

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Student representative Josue Moran, of Southeast Career Technical Academy, poses during the 62nd annual Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday Nov. 29, 2018.

As human beings, we can have moments where we are unsure of ourselves. We may have insecurities in the way we speak, the way we stand and the way we appear to others.

I felt unsure of myself as I entered the Sun Youth Forum, wondering if I was educated enough or open-minded enough to contribute. But when I saw the diversity in our room, I was reassured. I began to connect with teenagers from all over the valley and see different points of view, from people from our different communities.

We addressed such topics as same-sex marriage, whether video games are addictive and the fears of becoming an adult.

In connecting with people who grew up different from me, I found that the young men and women I encountered were all intelligent individuals who would do amazing things for the world in the future.

More importantly, I can genuinely say this: I felt accepted. A little boy from “Northtown” with broken English stood out to the group. I strongly recommend this event for many students who have strong beliefs, whether they are extroverted or shy.

It is amazing just to even sit and listen at the Sun Youth Forum, and it is overall a wonderful experience. It reinforced my belief that people should be who they are and embrace their personal experiences.

After all, it’s those experiences that have made them unique.

Josue Alexander Moran Ruano is a senior at Southeast Career Technical Academy.