Virginia Delegate David Yancey Speaks at Decembers L2F Assembly

Delegate David Yancey with English Teacher Alison Nuckols, Activity Director Pete Mercier, and Senior Kora Moyer.

Kylee Baines, Staff Writer

At the December 7th L2F assembly for freshmen, SCA President Kayla Paxton introduced a special guest: the honorable David Yancey (state delegate for the 94th district). Not only is Yancey our elected representative, he is also a local small business man (4th generation), and the Heritage High School Rugby Coach.

Yancey (using tactics similar to how he might talk to his athletes), “warmed up” the students by discussing the many political leaders elected by the people of Virginia. He gave examples of why students need to know who these leaders are.

“Right now we are facing a very serious situation in our country involving other countries and entities. It is very possible the U.S. could find themselves in a military conflict in just a few years. With the draft age being 18, that means every single one of you could find yourselves drafted into the military and overseas in the next three years. Yet these people you can’t name right now- your senators, representatives, will be the ones drafting you.”

Yancey also touched on the issue of human trafficking; elaborating that almost every female within the school is at the optimum age to be trafficked. Students responded to the question Yancey asked about what leadership means to them.

Yancey told a personal anecdote involving his family history that illustrated the importance of empathy, public service, and leadership to future generations.

“My name is David, my middle name is Etienne. Unusual right? It’s actually French.” He went on to explain that his mother is a Jewish Parisian who grew up in France during the Second World War. Yancey shared that he not only had two family members perish during the war, but his mother was put on a farm to be hidden from Nazi soldiers.

“The name of the farmer that protected my mother is Etienne. I am named after the man who protected my mother from the Nazis. What do you think would have happened if he had been caught? He would have been arrested, tortured, and killed. The same would have happened to my mother.”

Yancey continued to open students eye’s about the act of heroism previously discussed through a series of questions. “Do you think Etienne was a leader? Do you think he set goals? Displayed empathy in taking in my mother? Do you have to be an elected representative to be a leader?”

Yancey explained, “Leadership is having the empathy to be concerned about something so serious that you say to yourself, ‘I am going to stand up for what I believe in.’ Knowing that something is right, something is wrong, that something is serious. And that empathy comes from the fact you’re willing to stand up, willing to be laughed at, willing to be humiliated, and willing to have everyone throw things at you to insure you succeed, because the issue is important to the community.”

Yancey told to students that while they may not be interested in pursuing a career in public service , they are all capable of being leaders

Wrapping up the assembly, Yancey gave the following remarks:

“Today, we’ve talked about serious issues, ISIS, guns, terrorism, human trafficking, racism; these are serious issues. And these are issues that are realistically going to be around for a while. The fact that you guys are willing to engage with me, your teachers, and each other, indicates just how incredibly intelligent you all are. How remarkable you are with your perception of these issues, your understanding of the concepts, and your willingness to take a stand and say ‘I believe in this, and I want to see what I can do to make things better.’ Without even realizing it, in just the 45 minutes that we’ve all shared together, you all have demonstrated the willingness to lead, put yourself out there for public service, and to display empathy.”

Yancey ended the assembly by challenging students to make goals, think them through, and take the first steps towards achieving them in order to make a difference in the Newport News community.

Delegate David Yancey with English Teacher Alison Nuckols, Activity Director Pete Mercier, and Senior Kora Moyer.

Kylee Baines
Delegate David Yancey with English Teacher Alison Nuckols, Activity Director Pete Mercier, and Senior Kora Moyer.

Delegate David Yancey and Activity Director Pete Mercier

Kylee Baines
Delegate David Yancey and Activity Director Pete Mercier

Yancey talking to students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey talking to students.

Yancey discussing with students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey discussing with students.

Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Kylee Baines
Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.

Yancey talking to students.