Sixteen middle school and high school students presented speeches to a panel of local leaders regarding concerns and solutions they have for issues at their schools at the 2019 Youth Speak Out Friday in the Shawnee High School Performance Arts Center.

According to sophomore at SHS and member of the Shawnee Youth Coalition, Jordyn Satteren, the event was a success in that it gave students a chance to be heard.

"These events are important because they give youth a voice and not just adults," Satteren said. "We can bring up out concerns and do something about (them)."

Several different topics were discussed in the speeches presented by the students including school safety, bullying, violence prevention and social discrimination.

Satteren said the students came up with a multitude of ideas to better the high school and middle school. These ideas include water bottle fill up stations, better cross walks, more noticeable stop signs on buses, improving the high school tennis courts, better Advance Placement classes, smaller classes and a class that educates students on aspects of adulthood such as finances.

Shawnee Youth Coalition coordinator, Tyler Bivings said she thinks the event was also successful because many students were able to share with the panel.

"I think it went great," she said.

The event was planned and run by a group of 30 students who are members of the Shawnee Youth Coalition.

Bivings explained the panel gave positive feedback and encouraged the students to attend a County Commission meeting and read their speeches to the County Commissioners.

Students from Pleasant Grove, Shawnee middle school and high school attended the event as well as other community members.