Historic City News reporters learned that six senior high school students are teaching their middle school peers about how laws are made, how to research, and how to prepare bills on issues, chosen by them, that affect Florida residents.
YMCA of Florida’s First Coast sponsors the St Johns Delegation of Youth in Government. The seniors have been preparing the younger students to participate in a smaller and less intensive “Junior Assembly” which was recently held in the chambers of the St Johns County Commission.
The middle school students, from both St Johns and Duval County, played the roles of government leaders for the day, debating the bills they had written. Rachael Bennett, Chairwoman of St Johns County Commission, was the guest speaker.
Instructor participants who recently returned from their statewide Senior Assembly in Tallahassee, are Katherine Scott and Daniel Kessler of Ponte Vedra High School, Brooke Bland and Emma Loya (home schooled), Sanjana Bhargava of Nease High School and Samantha Cosme of St Joseph’s Academy.
The program enables students to voice their opinion on social and political issues at a young age, and aims to engage them in a world outside their own, where they become involved and concerned with what is going on around them.
The middle school students hone skills in public speaking, teamwork, and understanding the importance of civic engagement.
The YMCA Junior Youth in Government program was created to prepare students for responsible leadership in the American democratic process. By introducing the middle schoolers to the legislative process, the program prepares them for Senior Youth in Government when they reach high school.