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Articles from May 2017

AHS teacher Kirstin Sullivan honored by Iowa Secretary of State

Sullivan2017Kirstin Sullivan, who teaches AP European History, AP Government and Politics, and U.S. Government at Ames High School, was recognized by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate for organizing Ames High School’s participation in the statewide Iowa Youth Straw Poll for the 2016 general election.

In a press release, Pate said Sullivan “stepped up and registered to include our students’ voices in the statewide straw poll, and as a result of her efforts, students received a unique civic education experience.”

Sullivan said participating in the Iowa Youth Straw Poll gave all students at Ames High School a chance to be engaged.

“A vital part of my job is for students to know how important it is that they are engaged in their community and in their government at all levels,” Sullivan said. “In both U.S. Government and AP Government and Politics classes, we spend the semester learning about civil liberties and how to best advocate for oneself and one’s community.”

Sullivan said some high school seniors were able to participate in the actual election, as they were 18 years old by election day, but the majority of students could not.

“This was a way for them to be a part of the country’s conversation and to see how their voices aligned with students across Iowa,” she said.

Sullivan’s message to her students on their last day with her is to “be present, be engaged, and to vote.”

“My hope is that activities like the Youth Straw Poll help support that message,” she said.

The leadership of Iowa teachers like Sullivan earned the Iowa Youth Straw Poll national recognition, Pate said. The National Parent Student Mock Election awarded the Iowa Youth Straw Poll its National Association of State Boards of Education Award for Outstanding Leadership in Voter Education.

Iowa Youth Straw Poll

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Ames High School Participates in World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

2017Ames World Food PrizeAmes High School students were among  322 students from 132 Iowa high schools who came together at The World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute on April 24, to share their ideas and find solutions to solve the world’s most pressing challenges in food security. Students who participated came away with a deeper understanding of world hunger and the possible careers they might pursue to help alleviate it.

In preparation for the event, the participating high school student wrote a research paper on a key issue that impacts hunger in another country. At the Institute, students proposed their own solutions in small-group roundtable discussions facilitated by academic and industry experts, and  along with teachers, participated in hands-on immersion activities in research facilities and labs.  

From this experience, students will be selected to attend the Global Youth Institute held in Des Moines, in October 2017.

During the research leading up to the Iowa Youth Institute, Ames High School student Kegan Peters said she became a bit overwhelmed by the vastness of the issues of poverty and hunger that their generation will be facing, but that attending the Youth Institute gave her hope.

“The day I spent at ISU was inspirational in that it showed me how many other high schoolers there are who are interested, responsible, and creative enough to already be tackling these challenges,” Peters said.

Ainsley Chrystal said, “It was interesting to learn about how widespread these issues were, and then hear the innovative solutions from students.”

Nicole Kreider said attending the Institute helped her gain a wider perspective of the impact of her daily actions on our world and reminded her to be grateful for the opportunities she has.

“In particular, I was inspired by the message presented by the Iowa Youth Institute: that even though the challenge to alleviate poverty and suffering may seem daunting, everyone has the ability to make a difference in our world whether it be through helping to rebuild a village after a natural disaster, donating to overseas relief missions, or even volunteering at a local food bank,” she said.

Kreider said it is also important to note that though the institute focused on developing countries, these concerns are not unique to foreign nations thousands of miles away.

“Issues such as food insecurity and lack of adequate nutrition are still major concerns in the United States,” she said.

The World Food Prize was founded in 1986 by Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, recipient of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Borlaug  envisioned this and other World Food Prize youth programs as a way to inspire the next generation of scientists and humanitarians to go into critical fields and to help solve the challenge ahead: Feeding the 9 billion people who will be on our planet by the year 2050.

More information is available at

(Note: Photos are available and high resolution photos are available.)

The Ames High School students who attended  the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute were  Ainsley Chrystal, Nicole Kreider, Jayna Misra, Lillian Montabon, and Kegan Peters.

The large group photo L to R (back row):  Ainsley Chrystal (heart), Lillian Montabon (sun), Nicole Kreider (Red Cross), L to R (front row) Jayna Misra (peace sign), and Kegan Peters (school).

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