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Northwood students attend YAT’s annual Teen Summit conference

Over 450 high school students from Irvine woke up early on a Saturday morning to sit in a senior center auditorium, where they awaited a morning of entertainment, food and a variety of educational and fun workshops. They were participating in Irvine’s High School Youth Action Team (YAT) largest event of the year.

The 22nd annual Teen Summit, a student-organized, single-day, “Star Wars”-themed youth conference, was held on Saturday, March 5, at Lakeview Senior Center. The conference opened with Mayor Steven Choi’s welcoming address that set the tone for the rest of the day.

“Society portrays teens in a negative light, but I see teens in Irvine who actively exhibit attributes of positive community members,” Choi said. “I hope you will leave today with new information and experiences that will help you in the real world.”

Students shuffled from session to session, choosing three separate workshops to attend. The two most popular sessions were Bystander Intervention, presented by Doug Everhart from the UCI Health Education Center, and Following Passion by Beckman High School teacher Phillip Chow. Elective workshops included College Experience, Environmental Awareness, Bollywood Dancing, Public Speaking and Yoga.

“We wanted the summit to be an memorable youth event in which students could choose their own unique experience, and it was a huge success,” said Northwood junior Rebecca Chen, a member of the planning committee.

After the sessions, students received lunch and participated in a raffle where they could win prizes. As the event came to a close, YAT members who had been planning the event since December were able to look back and appreciate the hard work leading up to this year’s summit.

“Our main job on the committee was to bring in donations from local companies, so all the attendees received a free pancake breakfast from the Kiwanis Club of Irvine along with fresh fruit,” Northwood junior Sohini Halder said. “This was my second Teen Summit as a committee member and seeing the hard work translate to happy students was awesome. I can’t wait for next year!”

YAT is already looking forward to its next big event, its upcoming participation in Relay for Life on June 18-19 at Irvine High School.