By Brandon HENSLEY
With one last gentle strike of the gavel, Aimee Yeghiayan said goodbye to her presidency of the Crescenta Valley Youth Council on July 26, giving way to new board members ready to usher in the council’s second year.
Inside the community room of the CV Sheriff’s Station, present board members Yeghiayan, James Owen and Sevag Leon ceremoniously passed the torch to Owen Solis, Kiana Tom, Ben Campos, Lori Mandjikian, and Julie Jarian, who were present. Cooper Iven and Joy McCreary, who are also a part of the new board, were not there.
The seven positions were selected last month in an election that took place at St. Luke’s of the Mountains. The council consists of teenagers who act as representatives for the youth of the foothills. The council was put together this winter with Yeghiayan and Owen in the positions of president and vice president. Now that they have graduated high school, it’s time for the new class to take over.
“It has been a challenging but rewarding year being the president of the first year of youth board,” said Yeghiayan after the meeting. “I’m honored to have been chosen to represent the youth of the Crescenta Valley. Next year’s council is going to do a fantastic job.”
The council consists of seven spots, and there were 11 candidates for those spots. There were 91 voters who turned out for the election (voters could only be from ages 13 to 19).
“Which, my gosh, I was expecting maybe 20 [voters],” Yeghiayan said.
The swearing in of the officers did not take place at the meeting, as that is scheduled for a later date.
Yeghiayan, Owens and Leon were presented with certificates from CV Town Council president Cheryl Davis and Rita Hadjimanoukian, representative for L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.
“I’m so proud to see the three of you in action,” Hadjimanoukian said. “Our future is in great hands because we’ve got these young kids playing the role of their future. It’s so impressive and so heartwarming.”
Davis was impressed with the election results.
“Your 91 voters in three hours was a much better percentage than what [the town council] had in nine hours,” she said. “I don’t know if its Twitter or Facebook, I don’t know what it is, but you guys got people to the polls … it was very, very impressive.”
Both Davis and Harry Leon, a CVTC councilmember who oversees the youth board, said the group deserved credit for setting up the election, and for its efforts this year in creating bylaws and involvement in the CV Prom Plus organization and the Fire House, the youth center next to St. Luke’s.
Tom, who will be a senior at CV High, said she is excited to get down to business.
“I really enjoy working with the community at different events,” she said. “I really enjoy working with people … I feel that this is a great way to let our voice be heard and to have a way to represent and be different.”
Tom is part of her school’s Key Club, Robotics team and this summer she is volunteering at Kaiser Permanente Hospital. She is interested in nursing, but also in bioengineering and hopes to attend either UCLA or UC Berkeley.
She credited Yeghiayan and Molly Shelton, who acted as a liaison for the youth board to the CV Town Council, for inspiring her.
“Molly and Aimee are some of my inspirations because I know they work so hard. Community-wise, they do so much,” she said.
Before the end of the meeting, Leon had praise for the outgoing board, and then gave a playful warning to the incoming members.
“They paved the way for you guys,” he said. “Now I get to torture you.”