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MacArthur High School students surround Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne after she spoke with them at a recent Ignite Political Power for Every Young Woman event. Also pictured to Van Duyne’s left is Merriott Terry, executive director for Ignite Texas.

Irving Teens Demonstrate Keen Interest in Public Service

When public affairs educational events take place, Irving teens show up in force and redefine youth interest and involvement in politics and public service.

Recently teens from Jack E. Singley Academy, North Hills Preparatory, Uplift Education Charter School, and MacArthur, Irving and Nimitz High Schools represented Irving at two such events.

The first was U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions' 17th Annual Leadership and Growth Program, which attracted about 350 high school students and their parents from Sessions’ 32nd District. The long-standing event helps students gain a better understanding of the current policy debates as they develop their leadership skills for the future.

Ignite Texas, which held the second event, is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the numbers of women in politics by building political ambition in young women. The group is working in high schools and colleges throughout North Texas.

"When we have events, Irving’s young women are very well represented,” said Sarah Davenport, Ignite program director. "They often comprise the majority of students attending, and they ask great questions. They're bright, interested and dialed in to public affairs."

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne served as keynote speaker at Sessions’ event and was guest speaker at the Ignite gathering.

"I believe passionately that young people must take an interest in politics, and I take every chance I can to encourage them in doing so,” said Van Duyne. “We need to inspire our youth and let them know they can overcome barriers and that by developing their knowledge base and political leadership skills they, too, can pursue elective office. It is within reach.”

For those interested in Rep. Sessions’ student learning opportunities, visit For those interested Ignite Texas, visit

Posted May 7

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