Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School students had a fantastic showing at the 2020 YMCA Youth In Government (ALYIG) Youth Legislature conference that was held February 21-23. This year’s participants were Michael Hodges, Gracie Barranco, Zach Izer, Julienne Pharrams, Ellie Pool, Michael Russo, Anna Sadie, Sebastien Sayegh, and Ada Ziegler, advised by history teacher Mrs. Haley Hart. While it was a relatively small delegation compared to previous years, this group of highly motivated students made a significant impact on the conference.
“This was the smallest delegation Catholic has brought in my four years of Youth Leg,” said Anna, “but this is definitely the most successful Youth Leg we have had in those four years!”
Ellie was selected to serve on the Governor’s Cabinet as the Superintendent of Education. Michael, Gracie, and Zach each authored and submitted bills, all of which were passed in their chambers. Of the hundreds of students in attendance at Youth Legislature, Anna and Julienne were selected to attend the upcoming Youth Legislature Conference of National Affairs (CONA), which will be held in June. Only 25 students were selected for this opportunity, and Gracie and Zach were picked as alternates to the conference. Gracie was given the Sunshine Award, which, according to the ALYIG website, is “based on a participant’s leadership skills, community service and commitment to their faith and friendships.” Anna won the Bill Barringer Scholarship, which is awarded to “a college-bound senior who exhibits exemplary Christian character, extensive behind the scenes work regardless of recognition, great dedication to the program, an attitude of encouragement and enthusiasm, and who has gained the respect of peers and adults.”
The YMCA Youth in Government program was started in 1949 with the mission of “building a better tomorrow from the youth of today.” Over the years, the program has grown to include over 1,500 students from around the state of Alabama in the Youth in City, Youth Judicial, and Youth Legislature programs. These programs help to familiarize students with legal and political processes and encourage them to use their own moral and ethical values to evaluate public policy and real-world issues. By collaborating with students from all parts of the state, students also learn about the importance of diversity of ideas and tolerance of others’ beliefs.