Y-City News

West Muskingum leaders learn from nation’s biggest names in politics

Dylan Ansel (left) and Cameron Hill (right) in front of the Capitol Building.

Dylan Ansel (left) and Cameron Hill (right) in front of the Capitol Building.

Dylan Ansel (left) and Cameron Hill (right) in front of the Capitol Building.

By Christine Holmes, News Director

A pair of West Muskingum students recently had the chance to spend a few days among some of the nation’s most notable politicians and leaders during a leadership summit in Washington D.C.

Dylan Ansel, 16, and Cameron Hill, 15, of Zanesville were among more than 700 teens selected to take part in a four-day high school leadership summit for conservative high school students sponsored by Turning Point USA.

Ansel is a rising junior, and Hill will be entering his sophomore year when they return to school later this month.

Throughout their four days on the George Washington University campus, Hill said the boys had a jam-packed schedule of speakers each day.

Among those speakers were Donald Trump Jr., Nikki Haley, Jeff Sessions, Anthony Scaramucci, Betsy DeVos and Sean Spicer, to name a few.

However, out of all the accomplished politicians and leaders Hill heard from, the ones who made the biggest impact were some of the youngest.

Some rooming nearby and others speaking before the group, Hill had an opportunity to get to know and learn from survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The survivors at the conference offered a different perspective than the gun control narrative Hill said is being pushed in mainstream media.

“It was hard to see what they went through and for them to talk about it, but then they were really glad they could be here and show that there’s other sides to what everyone else is believing,” said Hill.

One of the main points Hill took away from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in attendance was that not everyone involved in that shooting agrees with tighter gun control laws.

Instead, the conservative students were asking for more armed protection in the schools, whether that be from teachers or school resource officers.

Another message that stuck with Hill was from United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

Haley’s words encouraged the young leaders gathered at Trump International Hotel to not be silenced.

Hill said Haley stressed the importance of standing their ground respectfully without stooping to the level of the person challenging them.

Being young and active in politics, Hill said it is common for him to have adults who do not take his well-researched points seriously.

They tell him “‘well that sounds like a true high schooler’ or ‘how would you even know,'” Hill said.

But he never lets those responses discourage him.

“I just kind of let it be,” said Hill.  “They’ll figure it out soon enough.”

The 15-year-old has strong plans to remain an active voice and leader in politics.

After all, that is his life being the son of State Representative Brian Hill.

Even if he doesn’t get into politics himself, Hill said it will still be a big part of his life.

“I’m definitely going to be a voice and be very active and campaigning and everything, I can see for the rest of my life probably,” said Hill.

For now, Hill is going to be active in his high school by vocalizing his own political beliefs and serving as class president.

“I just like being a leader,” said Hill. “I like being a voice for people.”

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