On Thursdays, we write bills

Club engages in state government

Kate Bernstein, Staffer

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Kate Bernstein
Listening intently, sophomore Hayden Stern writes down notes during a speech. Stern, now a member of Youth in Government for the second year, appreciates the welcoming environment of the club.

Every second and fourth Thursday of each month, members of Youth in Government (YIG) meet in room 704 to create bills, engage in debate and discuss current events. Members of the club are split into three mock sections of government: the judicial branch, legislative branch and executive branch. Freshman and member of the legislative branch Elliot Franciolla views her involvement in the club as an opportunity to learn debate skills and be heard on issues she is passionate about. 

“I want to be able to get more informed on different political and social issues and be able to debate them in a civil manner,” Franciolla said. 

Since the start of this year, the club has been preparing for a mock legislative session in Tallahassee in the spring where students will delegate, debate and present their bills to fellow YIG members and Florida government workers. This year, the event will include a judicial aspect where students will learn and engage in the lobbying process. Club sponsor of ten years and social studies teacher Michael Messano encourages students to use the event to learn that becoming involved in government is not as complicated as it may seem, and to understand that getting involved is vital for any citizen. 

“I think it’s everybody’s civic duty to participate in politics and government,” Messano said. “And no age is too young to start doing that.” 

YIG club president and member of four years senior Dillon Moran acknowledges the club to be fun and a useful outlet to participate in organized debate. 

“There’s few places where you can have thorough debate in high school,” Moran said. “And, like, clean debate too where people aren’t yelling; its orderly. And this is an opportunity to do it with people across the state of Florida, so I thought I should use my opportunity.”  

Board member and executive branch participant junior Kate Gramling said she appreciates the club as a means to learn about the process of government work and encourages other students to join for a chance to debate and accumulate political knowledge. 

“I think that a lot of kids here maybe don’t have a place where they can argue and develop ideas,” Gramling said. It doesn’t have to be someone that’s interested in government — it can be someone that is passionate about any sort of subject, and if they think something is wrong with the system, maybe they want to fix it. I think it’s important that people are talking about it, I mean democracy requires an active citizenship.” 

Many students involved in YIG manage time in the club with schoolwork and other extracurricular activities. Basketball player and legislative member sophomore Hayden Stern acknowledges the club for its warm atmosphere and participates despite other commitments. 

“I think it was a really warm environment when I came in here,” sophomore Hayden Stern said. “They were just really welcoming, and I didn’t know that many people in it and I just felt like they were happy to have me here.”