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Youth and Government delegation goes to capitol

Students represent RAHS at the YMCA Youth Legislature in Olympia

By Phoenix Flyer

Aviation Delegation Chair, Rachel Demaree, reads and writes extensive notes on bills that are worth debating in the House of Representatives' chamber.

Aviation Delegation Chair, Rachel Demaree, reads and writes extensive notes on bills that are worth debating in the House of Representatives’ chamber.

On 3-6 May, students from RAHS’ Youth and Government delegation took over the state’s capitol with students from all over Washington. Over the four days, they debated bills they had prepared earlier in the year and gained experience playing the role of a House Representative or Senator.


When he arrived, junior Henry Crockett got a good idea of what the rest of the trip would be like: a lot of debate.


“After the first day of the trip I was enjoying the debate,” said Crockett. “I think that going to committee then going to the House Chamber was a really good way to see a lot of different opinions on bills and just see debate in general.”


Crockett worked with students across the state to make and pass bills through a committee process.  


“So committee is basically the thing that proceeds when you go to the House or the Senate chamber,” said Crockett. “Committee is based on what kind bill you’re proposing, so for me I was talking about implementing a sugary beverage tax, my committee was in commerce, there were other committees as well.”


Senior Rachel Demaree, Chair of the Aviation Delegation (RAHS’ Delegation), has been attending Youth and Government since she was in 8th grade.


“This was my fifth and final year in Youth and Government. I started in 8th grade, and now I’m graduating,” said Demaree. “I love the debate, the capitol campus, the debate, the season, the debate, the people, the debate, and the Governor’s Ball. The whole thing is such an exhilarating experience!”


By the last day, members of the delegation had learned valuable skills and gainined experience that they could bring back to school.


“Through the Youth and Government program, especially this YMCA youth legislature at the capitol building, I learned a lot of great public speaking skills and how to openly debate,” said Crockett. “It also taught me to look at both sides of the argument and not be so one-sided.”


Junior Teo Bagnoli also thought the trip helped him develop personally and learn to handle disagreement over different topics.


“I learned to look at both sides of an argument before making a decision, also to make sure you stand up for what you believe in but at the same time listen to others’ ideas,” said Bagnoli. “I also learned how to present my idea and support other ideas in a formal setting.”


Being in her last session in YAG, Demaree fondly remembers the lessons she has learned over her five year career in Youth and Government.


“Through YAG, I developed self-confidence and became a proficient public speaker,” said Demaree. “YAG helped me develop an identity outside of being ‘that awkward homeschooled girl,’ which helped me in high school. YAG [also] showed me that debating ideas, not people, is how to effectively make decisions and lead.”


In the future, Demaree hopes to use the skills she learned throughout YAG as a political officer in the Foreign Service.


“YAG made me realize my passion for advocacy and diplomacy,” said Demaree. “My dream is to become a political officer in the Foreign Service (and eventually, a US ambassador), so I think everything I’ve learned in YAG will be put to use.”



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