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Students take governmental stands

Berkeley Prep's Justin Honaman and Leto High's Ivan Morales today will submit to the Florida Legislature a bill concerning the testing and licensing of boaters. At the same time, Chanta Hundley of Leto and Monica Bedi of St. Petersburg High will argue a case before the Florida Supreme Court on the right of a minor to have an abortion without parental permission.

And Stephen Fotopulos of Chamberlain High and George Fellios of Leto will submit a bill to their legislative delegation relating to disclosure in sales of used automobiles.

None of these teens are legislators, of course; they are local youths representing their peers at the 1990 Youth in Government Legislative and Judicial sessions Thursday through Saturday in Tallahassee.

Fifteen students who meet regularly at the Northwest YMCA earned positions in the 1990 session and have joined 585 other youths from around the state for the three-day experience.

"It will be a mock Supreme Court," Chanta said. "If we win in the preliminary (today), we will present a final brief on Saturday."

Other participants from the Northwest YMCA are Sungho Kim, Leto High School; Audra Perry and Trevor Petty, Gaither High School; Albert Lee, Gail Freed, Lisa Powell, Jason Wright and Joseph Brent, all of Ben Hill Junior High; and Tiffany Simpson of Adams Junior High.

Monica Bedi, representing St. Petersburg High School, makes the trip across Tampa Bay specifically to participate in the Northwest Tampa YMCA program.

Audra, 15, will participate in the media portion of the program as a reporter.

"I will be working with some publications, hopefully writing stories about the delegation, and I'll be taking some journalism classes, too," Audra said of her weekend's activities. "This should be good use of the government, to familiarize the youth with governmental procedures."

To qualify for the sessions, the teens were required to write legislation, learn debating skills, participate in volunteer community projects and meet attendance requirements, including a preliminary conference in Fort Myers in November.

They took care of their own expenses with fund-raisers.

This will be Chanta's third trip to Tallahassee with the group. A junior who ranks 11th in her class, she plans to attend the University of Florida after graduation and eventually go to law school.

"I hope to run for the House or the Senate someday," she said.

Justin said the program provides him with the opportunity to get to know other future leaders from around the state.4

"It is also a good opportunity to learn how the legislative process works," the 16-year-old said.

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