Students Try Their Hand in Sacramento

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Students from Corona del Mar High School learned about the Legislature and how government works during a trip to the State Capitol during the President’s Day holiday week.

The 120 CdM students joined 2,200 other students from across the state for the YMCA Model Legislature.

“Students debated bills in the actual Senate and Assembly chambers, endeavored to rewrite the state Constitution in Capitol committee rooms and argued court cases in actual courtrooms,” said Youth and Government program advisor Steve Messenger.

Several CdM students held offices in the model government, Messenger said.

Senior Sheridan March was elected speaker of the assembly, Zach Salaam was assembly sergeant at arms, freshman Vikram Baid served as speaker of the Forum assembly, and junior Annabel Pidgeon served in the governor’s cabinet.

Pidgeon, along with junior Sophia Reynolds, were selected to attend the Conference on National Affairs, being held this summer in North Carolina.

The Youth and Government Program gives students a “hands-on experience” at the model legislature program, according to the YMCA’s website.

The program includes a judicial program featuring trial, jury trial, appellate, judicial review and supreme courts, a dual legislative program, and special programs for pages, print and video journalists, legislative lobbyists, legislative analysts and others.

“Since its inception, the program has used a variety of activities to build, encourage, and strengthen those life assets and character traits that will help high school youth become involved responsible adults who are decent and respected citizens,” the website stated.

The Newport-CdM delegation is one of the largest groups in the state’s YMCA sponsored Youth and Government program. Over 2,000 students across the state participate and create their own groups within their schools or districts. Each delegation meets weekly to prepare for the three statewide conferences held throughout the year.

They all participate in the final conference, the California Model Legislature and Court Program, held every February, where students get to use the chambers at the State Capitol building to meet, discuss and elect new officers.

“CdM students represented their community exceptionally well,” Messenger said. “(They) are already looking ahead to next year’s model legislature experience.”

The young government group meets every Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the CdM music room. Contact advisor Steve Messenger at [email protected] for more information.

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