St. James student elected as KYA governor

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Erckenbrack takes top honor

By Kelly Cantrall

A convention that draws hundreds of students from around the state will have local leadership next year.

Abby Erckenbrack, an eighth-grader at St. James Regional Catholic School, was elected governor at the west region of the middle school Kentucky Youth Assembly conference this past weekend. KYA is a mock government program in which students run for office, write bills and pass legislation.

Alisha Suarez, a St. James eighth-grader, was chosen as the Outstanding Delegate.

Erckenbrack has taken part in the assembly since she entered middle school. The program has a familial feel and allows Erckenbrack to meet “tons of new friends,” she said.

“After a while, it just feels like home,” she said.

Erckenbrack decided to run for governor last year, inspired by past students who have run for office. Before attending the conference, she had to organize a service project. Erckenbrack hosted a bake sale to raise money which she used for materials to make blankets for wounded warriors.

Penny Osborne, assembly coordinator for St. James, said Erckenbrack easily enlists others to help with projects.

“She was born a leader,” she said.

Erckenbrack ran against 12 other students for governor, and the candidates were narrowed down through voting among students.

“When they announced my name, I was exhilarated,” she said.

She will serve as governor at next year’s assembly convention. She also has an opportunity to attend other leadership programs.

Erckenbrack’s classmate, Suarez, was new to the assembly this year. Suarez said she doesn’t know why she was selected for the honor of Outstanding Delegate.

“I had no clue I was getting it until the ceremony (where awards are announced),” she said.

St. James also was named an Outstanding KYA School of Excellence and had several successful bills.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.