Gov. Ducey praises Arizona youth leaders at GCU leadership event
Story by Laurie Merrill
Photos by Darryl Webb
GCU News Bureau
Gov. Doug Ducey praised, encouraged and thanked the hundreds of student leaders from across Arizona who gathered at Grand Canyon University on Friday for the 10th annual Youth Leadership Day.
Moments after shaking hands with GCU President Brian Mueller, who also addressed the crowd, Ducey took the podium and beamed at the students.
“The turnout alone is impressive,” he said. “Six hundred students from over 50 youth groups and high schools all across Arizona, rallying together to make their communities, our state and this country a better place to live,” Ducey said.
The governor said that Arizona’s young leaders logged more than 46,000 service hours and completed 107 projects on this year’s Youth Service Day.
“It’s a relief to know that there are so many excellent young role models — in this auditorium and across Arizona — setting a good example for your peers and our future leaders,” he said.
The Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family presented the event, which was sponsored by GCU and Youth Service America. It gave participants the opportunity to attend leadership development workshops and network in addition to hearing inspirational speakers.
Ducey offered special thanks to the 51 members of the Governor’s Youth Commission.
Each, he said, “epitomizes good citizenship and represents the very best of Arizona. I’m not exaggerating when I say they’re the best in the world, because for the second year in a row, Arizona was ranked number one in the world for youth-led service projects.”
He praised the young leaders for tackling tough issues such as bullying, distracted driving, teen dating violence and civics education.
He noted that the first bill he proposed was the American Civics Act.
“Substance abuse and domestic violence are among our most pressing priorities,” he said. “These are difficult issues, and not everyone wants to talk about them.”
Mueller also praised the teenagers and said he hoped they would help set an example by providing encouragement to youth from various cultures.
Mueller said he is proud that GCU accepted 500 students who were not born in the U.S., but who did so well in high school they will join the GCU community and have a chance to become doctors, nurses and engineers.
“We don’t care what your background is,” he said. “We don’t care where you are from. All we care about is you get the same chances as everybody else.”
Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or [email protected].