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Students from more than 100 Pennsylvania school districts convened at Red Lion Area High School's Fitzkee Athletic Center for the largest statewide conference of student councils.

The 81st annual Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils State Conference was hosted at the school for the first time since 1993 and started in the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 2.

A day before the conference, Red Lion junior and student council secretary Emilee Cutler could barely contain her excitement at the thought of kicking off the event.

"I don't think I've been able to take it in," she said. "I've been working on this since I got to high school, and it's finally happening."

Red Lion students won a bid in November 2015 to host the event and have spent two years preparing, according to council adviser Jane Dennish.

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More than 1,000 students and their advisers were expected for the three-day conference, according to Dennish.

Students were dismissed at noon on Thursday, Nov. 2, to make way for the kickoff.

The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated the event would bring more than $500,000 in economic benefits to the area, and Dennish said seven local hotels were fully sold out for the event.

Bringing the conference to Red Lion did not use tax dollars, according to Dennish. Instead, the students raised the $100,000 budgeted for the conference through fundraisers, organizational donations and solicitations to local businesses to sponsor the event.

During the three-day conference, students from across the state experienced leadership training, engaged in social activities, networked during a college fair and held caucuses and general elections for new student leadership at PASC.

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