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17 High School Students Have Their Say
May 01, 2019

Board of Supervisors Hosts Public Business From The Floor Speech Contest

The topics ranged from the need for more mental health services for youth to the economic advantages of industrial hemp, from free speech in schools to second hand smoke in apartment buildings. Several spoke about approaches to resolving homeless issues. Water quality, drugs, drunken driving, road conditions, abandoned animals, dangers of e-cigarettes, and the level of law enforcement protection in Sutter County’s “keyhole” neighborhood all were on their minds.

It was the fourth Sutter County Public Business From The Floor High School Speech Contest, and it was the largest to date.

Hosted by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors, and sponsored by the 20-30 Club of Yuba City-Marysville, the contest drew 17 contestants Monday night during a special meeting at the Sutter County Board of Supervisors chambers inside the Hall of Records.

Two freshmen took home the first and second place prizes, and a junior won third place.

Board members and the representatives from the 20-30 club complimented the speakers on their courage, research, passion, and performances.

Speeches were limited to three minutes, the same amount of time allowed for comments on agenda items or matters of Sutter County interest during regular Board meetings. County Supervisors were joined by four members of the 20-30 Club in judging the speeches, and Board Chairman Mat Conant announced the winners:

1st place, Connor Stout, who lives in Yuba City and is in his freshman year at Jesuit High School in Sacramento. Connor spoke about the level of law enforcement in the “keyhole” area in Sutter County.

2nd place, Sierra Connor, a freshman at Faith Christian High School. She spoke about the economic benefits of growing industrial hemp in Sutter County.

3rd place, Sophia Dunlap, junior, East Nicolaus High School, who spoke about the need for education for students about the dangers of addiction to e-cigarettes.

The speakers drew numbers as random for placement. Below is a list of each speaker, their grade, and the school they attend, along with the topic they chose:

  1. Sophia Bernardino, junior, Yuba City High School; spoke on insufficient local and statewide availability of hospital beds and other resources for those in mental health crisis, particularly children and teens.
  2. Ivan Pineda, senior, Live Oak School; spoke on the easy availability of drugs by students and his concern for its impact on schoolmates
  3. Marilyn Martinez, junior, Yuba City High School; spoke homeless and recommended the establishment of more shelters and programs
  4. Roxy Lopez, junior, Live Oak High School; spoke about the need for more enforcement of drunken driving laws to save lives
  5. Cassidy Davis, junior, Live Oak High School; spoke about threats to water quality as the result of trash being dumped into Feather River, and recommended reducing fees for disposing of hazardous wastes
  6. Rosie Lopez, junior, Live Oak High School spoke about the growing homeless population in Yuba-Sutter, and recommended more shelters and support for homeless individuals
  7. Zoee DeVries, junior, Yuba City High School, recommended increased funding for adequately surfaced and well-marked roads to help drivers, especially young drivers, avoid accidents or expensive costs for realignments
  8. Sophia Dunlap, junior, East Nicolaus High School; spoke on the need to educate students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the formation of a teen ambassadors board which could bring forward issues at their schools
  9. Eddie Herrera, senior, Live Oak High School; spoke about the dangers of Lomo Crossing on Highway 99 between Yuba City and Live Oak, and recommended a stop sign, flashing lights, or some other solution to make it less dangerous.
  10. Diana Araujo, senior, Live Oak High School; spoke about the need for more sobriety checkpoints to reduce the number of people driving while intoxicated.
  11. Gordon Felesina, senior, Sutter Peak Charter School, spoke about the nature and cost of homelessness to individuals and the community at large, and recommended a housing first and harm reduction approach—to provide housing without conditions and to reduce negative consequences associated with drug use.
  12. Miles Casillas, junior, Sutter High School; spoke about school students who are homeless dealing with self-esteem issues because they do not have access to clean clothes and a shower, and recommended the purchase of a mobile laundry facility and showers for use by the homeless
  13. Connor Stout, freshman, resident of Yuba City, attending Jesuit High School; spoke about the tax exchange agreement between Sutter County and Yuba City and the need for increased police patrols in the area known as the “keyhole”
  14. Carson Bushnell, junior, River Valley High School; spoke about the First Amendment, cited incidents of free speech being limited on college campuses, and recommended adoption of a resolution declaring the Board’s support for the political free speech rights of the citizens of Sutter County.
  15. Sierra Connor, freshman, Faith Christian School, spoke about the positive economic impact of allowing industrial hemp to be grown in Sutter County, and recommended the Board work with Agricultural Commissioner’s Office and potential growers to develop local rules pending the adoption of state rules, that would allow hemp to be grown this season.
  16. Kaitlyn Friemark, sophomore, Faith Christian School; spoke about the costs associated with the health implications of second-hand smoke in multi-family housing units, and recommended the Board adopt a countywide ban on smoking in multi-family dwellings.
  17. Justina Hartman, sophomore, Live Oak High School; spoke about abandoned animals, and recommended a volunteer program of individuals regularly searching for abandoned animals, as well as a program where law enforcement helps promote dog adoption.