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2,500 expected to attend international youth conference at WKU May 22-27

About 2,500 middle school and high school students from the United States and five continents will converge on the WKU campus this month for the 38th annual International Student Convention of Accelerated Christian Education.

The Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) convention will begin with registration on May 22 at Diddle Arena and opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. May 23 at Diddle Arena. Three days of events will begin May 24 at various campus buildings and athletic facilities. The convention ends on May 27 with an awards rally at Diddle Arena.

Other than state athletic tournaments, the A.C.E. convention may be the largest single youth conference held at WKU, according to Jeff Younglove, director of Campus and Community Events.

Each year A.C.E., which has a constituency of 145 countries, hosts 19 Regional Student Conventions across the United States and 24 National Conventions around the globe. For the past several years, WKU has hosted the A.C.E. Cumberland Valley Regional Student Convention during spring break week.

The conventions feature more than 140 areas of competition designed to help students identify their talents so they can develop these areas for future service. Students compete in areas such as Academics, Athletics, Music, Platform and Art. The Regional Conventions lead up to the premier event, the International Student Convention (ISC), where both students and staff hope to fulfill the ISC motto “Where else can one week last a lifetime?”

The theme for this year’s ISC will be “Our Heritage, Our Hope,” based on Psalm 119:111 and 49. The highlight of the convention is evening rallies with dynamic preaching and an opportunity for the young people to make decisions for dedication of their lives for service to Christ.

Younglove said WKU began planning for the international convention more than a year ago. “We’ve had support from the entire campus to make this happen,” he said. “Everyone has been very positive about it.”

Younglove has worked closely on arrangements with Academic Affairs, Athletics, Information Technology, Dining Services, Housing and Residence Life, Parking and Transportation, and other departments.

The A.C.E. groups will be staying in Pearce-Ford Tower, McCormack, Rodes-Harlin and Minton halls. They will be parking in both parking structures and the PFT lot.

In addition to Diddle Arena, events and activities will be held in Grise Hall, Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center, Preston Health and Activities Center, Van Meter Hall, practice football field, track and field complex, and soccer complex.

Athletic events include basketball, volleyball, archery, bowling, tennis, track and field, soccer, table tennis and physical fitness events. Academic events include music, speech and drama, scholastic bowl and Bible competitions.

A.C.E., which is based in Nashville, Tenn., rotates the location of the international convention each year. Recent hosts have included University of Central Missouri, Northern Arizona University, James Madison University and University of Virginia.

Contact: Campus and Community Events, (270) 745-2497.

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