Youth and Government Club Spotlight
By: Angelina Grimm
Wheaton North’s Youth and Government club recently attended its annual general assembly at the state capital, Springfield. Many students of all grades participate in this interactive club which aims to provide them with a deeper understanding of the United States government. Within the club, students can take on a variety of activities such as being a legislator, attorney, lobbyist, clerk-bailiff, member of the press/media, and more. The club here at Wheaton North participates in the Illinois YMCA Youth and Government program along with schools from all over the state. This year, even more Wheaton North students joined in on the 74th general assembly, where they split into their individual tasks throughout the weekend.
Tom Drabik, a senior and a legislator in the club talked about his experience in the club. At first, Tom was not aware of the club but he now enjoys all that it has to offer, including getting to see his friends act in “adult form.” He wants to be a social studies teacher and eventually become a politician. As a legislator, Tom joins different committees with other high schools from around the state and tries to get his bills passed. This year Tom and his bill group proposed a bill to protect animals in the shelters. James O’Toole, who is a member of Tom’s bill group, also serves as legislator. He decided to join the club because of his passion for government and politics. After joining, James now has a better understanding of the legislative process and the time it takes to get bills passed. He noted that it's fun to argue about his bill and participate in debates with his friends. He looked forward to the general assembly because he wanted to listen to other students' ideas from all over Illinois. Legislator Dorien Collins joined because he loves learning about the government, and his favorite teachers happen to be the club sponsors. Dorien is going to major in English and political science next year. His favorite part of Youth and Government is debating arguments he is passionate about and listening to others' opinions on different topics. If you have a passion for politics, reach out to the club sponsors, Ms. Castro and Mr. Mehta, to join next year!
Moving on to the judicial side, a first-year attorney in the program, Viktor Castro was also excited to attend the field trip to Springfield. He wishes to potentially be a real attorney in the future. Through Youth and Government, Viktor has learned how to become better at public speaking, and he also gathered that, “when you dress professionally you feel more confident.” He admits there is a lot of reading if chosen to participate in the judicial side and that procrastination is not the best idea. Jacob Halter, who is another attorney, moved from being a legislative assistant to an attorney this year. Jacob joined due to his general interest in politics and for his college applications. Jacob also wants to be an attorney in the future along with many other students involved on the judicial side. Through Youth and Government, Jacob was taught how to argue in a courtroom setting. A piece of insightful advice that he learned during his mock trials states that, “it doesn't matter what you say but it matters how you say it.” On his Springfield trip, Jacob looked forward to the opportunity to meet new people.
Wheaton North’s Youth and Government club is an amazing experience for students interested in studying law or politics in the future. Additionally, it allows students to gain new friends and learn from new perspectives. This special Wheaton North club would not be possible without our iconic advisors, Mr. Mehta and Mrs. Castro. Make sure to look out for an informational meeting towards the end of the school year if you're interested in joining.