NEW LONDON — Superintendent Winfried Feneberg is pleased to share that several Kearsarge Regional High School students recently took part in a Youth and Government student caucus.
Youth and Government is a national YMCA program organized by each participating state to provide students with the opportunity to take part in model-government programs and discuss relevant issues to their region with their peers. New Hampshire students are given an opportunity to hold mock legislative sessions through the program, and campaign to undertake a variety of state government positions during those sessions through a student caucus.
Prior to the caucus, students in Kearsarge Regional High School’s Youth and Government club campaigned during a position primary at the school this January for positions they wanted to seek at the caucus. The students presented campaign speeches for their positions and were judged by three faculty members, who selected which students would campaign at the caucus.
The caucus was held on Friday, Jan. 31, at Stevens High School in Claremont, and included students from Kearsarge Regional High, Stevens High and Newport Middle-High Schools.
At the caucus, students ran for variety of state government positions, including governor, senator, supreme court lawyer, lobbyist, and so on, and presented speeches while campaigning for those roles. Students elected to their positions by their peers at the caucus will take part in a statewide pre-legislative session on March 14 and a full legislative session on April 3 and 4.
In both sessions, students will gather in state offices to fulfill their roles. Students with roles in the Governor’s office will have access to that space, students elected to supreme court positions will visit the supreme court, and so on. Educators will advise students during the pre-legislative session when necessary, and students will fully operate the second session on their own.
“These sessions provide a wonderful opportunity for students, who will assume their various state government roles, debate and discuss relevant issues with their peers and work inside the actual offices, courts and meeting spaces our state government uses every day,” said Curtis Roddy, a social studies teacher and adviser to Kearsarge’s Youth and Government club. “This experience will provide them with invaluable insight into New Hampshire’s state government, which is incredibly exciting.”
Approximately 12 students belong to Kearsarge Regional High School’s Youth and Government club, and a handful took part in the caucus, earning a variety of positions in the coming pre-legislative and full legislative sessions.
Nina Spinney, a junior of Newbury, was elected to the student senate at the caucus. Hannah Tockman, a junior of New London, and Jake Cardillo, a junior of New London, will both serve as lobbyists in the upcoming sessions, and Aiden Markoff, a junior of New London initially ran to act as a lobbyist, but has since decided to take on a position that opened up after the caucus to act as a supreme court lawyer in the sessions.
Several students who were unable to attend the caucus will also have the opportunity to take part in the sessions as lobbyists, including Erin “Phoenix” Chouinard, a senior of Wilmot; Sophie Shields, a junior of Newbury; Will DelGiudice, a junior of New London; and Erika Sliger, a junior of Sutton.
“These students have shown a deep interest in government, and worked hard to campaign and earn their positions in these sessions in order to have this opportunity to learn and collaborate with their peers from across the state,” Superintendent Feneberg said. “It is a pleasure to see them seeking these opportunities, and we wish them luck as they proceed with these legislative sessions this spring.”
Two of the students, Chouinard and Jordan Busch, a senior of New London, are also drafting bills for their senior projects which they hope to bring before students participating in the mock legislative sessions to garner feedback. The students tentatively plan to present their bills to state legislators later this year.