• Congratulations to sophomore Abby McCallum on becoming the first student from Timberland to attend the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs (CONA) in Black Mountain, North Carolina, June 30 to July 5. Only 25 students were chosen to represent the State of Missouri at the 51st annual conference which focuses on increasing awareness of the federal government and how it affects state and international politics. McCallum joined almost 700 students from around the country, debating student-written proposals on a variety of topics, in a forum designed to allow students to express their own opinions, while exploring and learning about ideals different from their own. 

    McCallum’s proposal dealt with increasing funding to National Parks; she also presented a proposal for an ill student from another state during debate. “My favorite part of CONA was the atmosphere. Everyone was caring, respectful, kind and informed. Even when debating, no one feared to speak their mind. After debate, people would discuss the issues instead of angrily arguing and not listening to each other,” McCallum said. “I met people from all over the country with all different ideas, yet at the end day we all came together and laughed. This type of mentality is important to show it is possible to talk and understand the other side. One of the most inspiring things that was shown to me was the way we talked about us and the future of the USA - everyone loves this country, and we want to make it the best it can be.” 

    McCallum is a member of Youth and Government, Student Council, and serves as the manager of the varsity volleyball team at Timberland. She hopes to go to school for economics and eventually to become a lawyer who specializes in education.