The Southeast KAY chapter hosted the annual Unit Conference on February 13. Nine schools and more than 100 students helped with community service projects and listened to speakers. One of those speakers, Southeast graduate Taylor Gravett, was a former KAY chapter president, and is now the mayor of his hometown, Weir, Kansas.
“KAYS solidified my passion of running for office more than anything,” Mayor Gravett said after the conference. “Working with the community not only allows you an up close and personal view but it also highlights the needs of the community. I knew if I wanted to my community to make a positive change that I would have to step up.”
Stepping up was a critical part of his message to the students, telling them it is their turn to help make their communities better.
“Sometimes it easy to get discouraged with the constant stream of negative news (but) if high school kids want to make an impact one of the biggest things they can do is volunteer their time,” Mayor Gravett said. “There are numerous other areas in which they can be a part of. Volunteering at a local hospital, humane society, or school may not seem like a big task but it sets a positive example moving forward.”
Mayor Gravett graduated from Southeast High School in 2011, and was elected to the Weir City Council that Fall. Since then, he has earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Pittsburg State University, a Masters in Public Administration from Arkansas State University, and was named Mayor for the City of Weir just over a year ago.
He told students that when he was named Mayor, his first priority was to find a project that would help the community as a whole. For Gravett, that ended up being to find a way to improve the town’s aging public library. CBW Bank stepped up and worked out a way to have a new library built next to the bank, in downtown Weir.
“The library project is way more than just a new location. This project is the definition of community pride. When you bring the community together and you have committed business leaders who understand the importance of small towns and literacy you get an amazing project. We know that moving forward this project will only spark more pride and interest within our City.”
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