Obama Youth and Government, In Summation
By Mariah Gaines (Sophomore)
Over the April 23rd weekend, Pennsylvania YMCA’s annual Model Legislature convened in Harrisburg. It’s an exciting time of year for the politically inclined, as members of Youth and Government (YAG) clubs all over Pennsylvania spend most of the year writing legislative bills, judicial briefs, and press articles in preparation for one weekend at the state capitol.
But to many students at Obama, YAG is known solely as a mysterious club that goes around to every Civics, TOK, and History class at the beginning of the year recruiting new members to join it’s ranks. In reality, YAG is the largest, most established club Obama offers. The opportunities that come from being a part of the club are vast. Let’s take a step back and explain what YAG is.
Youth and Government is a program that brings mock government to both middle school and high school students all across the state. It is divided into three branches: Legislative, Judicial, and Press Corps.
Members of the Legislative branch work to pass bills through committee, House, and Senate. Attorneys in the Judicial branch argue cases in front of the Supreme Court. Members of the Press document the happenings every day in the Capitol Chronicle–the YAG newspaper, as well as share photos and videos on social media. Each branch has hundreds of delegates.
After four days of hard work, awards are given out to exemplary delegates. These are extremely selective, and this year, Obama students blew it out of the water by receiving the most awards in its delegation’s history. The Eagle Times would like to recognize all the people who won awards at the Model legislature convention.
Senior Gabby Reed received the Sam Condrick Spirit Award. This award recognizes especially enthusiastic delegates from around Pennsylvania.
Sophomore Diya Singh and Freshman Miriam Spak were named Outstanding Committee Chairs. They got this for facilitating debate as efficiently and as lively as possible in their respective House and Senate committees.
Sophomore Mariah Gaines was named Best Press Photographer. This is an award whose recipient is voted on by all members of the Press Branch.
Senior Aastha Singh was named Outstanding Senator. She received this by being one of the best debaters in Pennsylvania.
Sophomore Noah Levitt was named Outstanding Member of the Governor’s Administration. This is an award picked by the Youth Governor of Pennsylvania.
Freshmen Kenza Bey and Nick Black were selected as two of around 15 people to possibly attend the National Judicial Conference, a highly selective event that takes place annually in Chicago. They were selected for this because they were the best Freshmen Attorneys in Pennsylvania.
Annabel Degenholtz, Dylan Shapiro, Aastha Singh, Diya Singh, and Miriam Spak were all selected to attend the Conference on National Affairs, a highly selective event that occurs annually in North Carolina. They were picked for this because they have especially strong debate and writing and exemplify proper legislators.
Aavin Mangalmurti and Isaiah Trumbull wrote bills that passed both the House and Senate to be signed by the Youth Governor of Pennsylvania. This is an honor only about 20 people get each year.
Finally, Diya Singh was elected to be youth Speaker of the House of Pennsylvania. This is the third highest ranking elected position within all of the Pennsylvania YAG.
YAG is hard to be good at, and the fact that delegates from Obama are so good across the board is definitely something to be proud of.