Letters from the students offer the best thank-you. Excerpted here is some of the heartfelt gratitude they have expressed over the years.
“I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to see former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in action. The experience was nothing like I have ever been exposed to before and proved to be a truly memorable night. The expertise in his field clearly showed through and I am looking forward to what Governor Romney will go on to do in the future. I was extremely impressed and satisfied with my experience and will highly recommend the Youth Town Hall program to my peers.” – Jacob W.
“Thank you for the opportunity to see Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s lecture. He has always been an inspiration to me as I hope to one day be involved in the field of science. It was very interesting to learn about the decrease of interest in science in the U.S. as Dr. Tyson explained in his lecture. I also like that the youth got their own time to hear from Dr. Tyson and ask questions. The food was great too! I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity you have provided me and I hope to attend another Town Hall lecture in the future.” – Steven C.
“My experience at the Youth Town Hall’s Speaker Series with Platon was truly moving and inspiring. His way of speaking was direct and sincere, but most importantly conveyed that, despite our youthfulness, we have the power to change the world for the better. Platon shared with us some of his many life experiences and how they shaped him into the person he is today. Many of these stories included acts of bravery and heroism from ordinary people and humanization of huge pop culture icons and political figures – people that he has photographed throughout his career.”- Elizabeth C.
“Dr. Krauthammer further exposed me to higher level political views, broadening my mindset. I value this opportunity because I firmly believe that the youth, as the up and coming generation of voters of America, must be well informed. It was delightful to see how our desert embraces the youth by providing these generous events, through the Youth Town Hall.” – Nathan P.
“Hearing the words of such a high profile figure that had a significant role in world affairs (Secretary Leon Panetta) makes us more conscious of the world and our government system. These Youth Town Hall events give students like me perspective and makes us take a moment to reflect upon what impact we want to have in our education and careers.” – Jesse
“The courageous stories shared by Lisa and Laura Ling allowed me to analyze certain aspects in life in a more positive perspective. They inspired me to venture the world and learn about new ideas and cultures. They also excited me for what is to come into my future.” – Natalie
“I was captured by what Mr. Karl Rove had to say. His speaking skills are impeccable, to the point where I just wanted to hear more. I liked hearing his conservative views because they opened my mind to the Republican mindset, something that I don’t have much exposure to since my whole family is very liberal.” – Austin
“I agreed when Dr. Ben Carson said that we all should stay in school and get a career to make a good life for ourselves. It is the only way we will live comfortably. It was sad to hear that 30 percent of high school students will drop out and not graduate. I liked his advice when a student asked how to keep the faith when going through school and life challenges.” – Jacqueline
“As an aspiring oncologist, I found much of what Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared to be true to the kind of doctor and person I aim to become.” – Jessica
“Being groomed in the realm of honors courses, failure is avoided like a terminal disease and a lot of anxiety rises up around it. Tina Brown’s practical attitude towards the risk of failure is reassuring to say the least.” – Peyton
“Governor Jeb Bush’s discussion was very enjoyable and enlightening. The discussion held after the speech was also very entertaining, as my peers had many good thoughts about Governor Bush’s ideas and, whether they agreed with him or not, all the students showed rational and thoughtful reasoning.” – Michael
“It was such an honor just being in the same room as General Stanley McChrystal. I feel that I have gained so much from him. His speech on leadership really opened my eyes. I learned that being a leader isn’t just what rank you hold; it’s about who you are and how you treat others. He has greatly impacted my decision-making in such a positive way. My dream is to join the Air Force someday and being a leader will push me even closer to that dream. I would never have had this much courage to get back on this path if it hadn’t been for General McChrystal.” – Amaris
“I never thought that I would have the privilege to listen to a lecture of a former vice president (Dick Cheney) and his daughter (Liz Cheney)…The whole experience has inspired me to get involved, and has made me realize that no educational goal is out of reach, and always attainable.” – Juanne
“David Brooks inspired me with his in-depth commentary about the journalistic field and the success he has garnered from his vocation. Having aspirations to become a journalist myself, I found his lecture to be very informative and helpful for my future goals.” – Crystal
“The presentation gave me a whole new perspective on our country. Prior to this event I was not very familiar with U.S. government military operations and our diplomatic image across the world; but I feel Dr. Robert Gates gave insight that touched all areas of current United States politics and provided an understanding about U.S. military relations… Reading history from textbooks is valuable, but to hear about history from someone who made it was captivating and unforgettable.” – Juan
“Dr. Bob Ballard focused a large portion of his time toward encouraging us to pursue careers we are passionate about. He spoke about failure and the life lessons we will learn. Not only did I take away the pleasure of meeting a modern-day hero who discovered the Titanic, but I walked away with life lessons.” – Katherine
“As a foreign exchange student from China, (Fareed Zakaria’s) experience helped me to understand the true meaning of the American Dream. I want to study engineering at UCLA or UC-Berkeley.” – Qin
“I feel like I learned so much and gained so much more respect for President George W. Bush with the opportunity to hear him speak. All of his experiences he shared were so personal that I felt like I was meeting him personally. I was in awe the whole time I was there, and I could not believe that I was sitting only feet away from a former president of the United States.” – Jesse
“Oftentimes we blind ourselves to our own struggles and we don’t see the more difficult life someone could be going through such as Jeannette Walls did as a child. I could not have asked for a better, heart-wrenching, and eye-opening experience as the one I experienced hearing Jeannette Walls speak.” – Magdyel
“It is not often that students in high school are exposed to real politicians and their opinions. Bill Bradley was very funny and I was more interested in him because I am also a basketball player for my school team. I thought it was interesting to learn about his transition from NBA to being a senator. The special question and answer we had with him before his lecture was the most interesting part of the night because it was addressed directly to my age group.” – Stephanie