Press Conference with Governor Sophia Koppensteiner

While delegates convened for the debate in chambers this morning, the Media Corps gathered for a press conference with KYA Governor Sophia Koppensteiner to learn more about her platforms and her behind-the-scenes work at the conference. Often the highlight of their experience in Media Corps, the editors were eager to begin. Editor in Chief Ella Abney kicked off the conference by asking Sophia about her executive order as governor of Highschool KYA 2. She answered by explaining her executive order on paid parental leave: the order will give 12 weeks of paid parental leave provided that parents meet certain requirements annually.

Ella then opened the floor to questions from editors in the Media Corps. The first few editors’ questions focused on Sophia’s thoughts on the process of meeting the PO team and bringing the KYA community back together this year. Sophia responded enthusiastically by explaining how she loved getting to meet the PO team and work on planning throughout the year. She was also excited about hosting an in-person KYA, touching on the conference’s theme “reunited” and explaining how she could see and feel the energy of having everyone together again. I know the Media Corps has felt this energy within our own program area, and I think we’ve all been able to feel this same energy in our debate and our GA meetings!

Questions then moved to ask about more personal experiences from Sophia. When asked about her plans for her future, Sophia talked about hoping to go into international relations and potentially working for the United Nations. She spoke on how her position as governor has helped prepare her for a career in policy and international relations. We all know that she’ll be successful in whichever field she chooses and we can’t wait to see what her future holds!

Sophia then discussed her platforms from her campaign last year: combating the opioid crisis, equal housing rights for all Kentucky residents, and increasing availability of school mental health counselors. She elaborated on why she had chosen these platforms as well. In particular she discussed her passion for making mental health counselors more accessible as she could see other students struggling, and she was aware of the pandemic’s impact on teenagers’ mental health. She also excitedly answered questions about her inspiration to become governor. After falling short of securing a position as an officer her freshman year, she’s had a drive to improve her skills and become the amazing KYA Governor that she is today. When asked about the legacy she hoped to leave on the KYA community, she explained that she wanted students to walk away feeling empowered to use their voices and to stay engaged both at the conference and in their communities at home. Her words of encouragement give us insight into an attitude that we would all do well to adapt.

Finally, she talked more about the excitement of being elected and her passion for working with the PO team. She recalled the moment she found out that she would be governor and felt the “magic of the Y” as people surrounded her with support and congratulations. She talked about planning the governor’s agenda with her team and how she and the team designed an agenda that could be used as a tool for bill sponsors and other delegates in understanding the issues that affect our state.

She closed with advice for delegates: speak up for what you care about and make your voice heard. You have one more chamber today — make your opinions known. Talk to those around you and share your thoughts with them. Speak on bills that you are passionate about, and be confident in your ideas!

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