High School students trade class desks for Capitol seats

When the school bell rings Feb. 22 and March 14, 26 local chairs will be empty as students fill seats in the Michigan Legislature for the 64th annual Michigan Youth in Government (MYIG) State Leadership conference. Jackson High School will send 13 students in February and Napolean High School will send 13 students in March. The young scholars will join more than 1,500 other students from more than 150 different schools statewide.

Students will spend five days in Lansing at the Capitol debating, writing bills and lobbying their positions on issues they've researched during the school year. They will conduct legislative sessions in the House and Senate chambers and gain a better understanding of the democratic process. Other students will be involved in the Mock Trial Competition or in the National Issues Forum.

"With this experience under their belts, the students will have great leadership training that they can carry with them in the future," says Executive Director Brent Veysey. "They will also become able to make more informed decisions as voters."

The students' issues of concern will be passed on the Michigan Legislature for review.

Last year, students drafted their own versions of anti-bullying legislation. In November 2011, Governor Snyder signed the official anti-bullying legislation (HB4163) into effect and Youth in Government students were invited to attend the signing.

Michigan Youth in Government is a program of the State YMCA of Michigan and is open to all middle and high school students interested in government. Scholarships are available. The program began in 1948 and serves more than 2,000 students annually.

Published: Mon, Feb 20, 2012

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