Meet our Delegation: Odyssey Charter School

By Shannon Quinn & Ella Jones

We are writing on behalf of our delegation at Odyssey Charter School’s Youth and Government program, currently located at Odyssey Charter High School in Wilmington, Delaware. We are a new delegation, only a year old, and we currently have 30 acting members who are all new to this program as well. Ours is a very unique delegation, not only because of its youth, but also because all members are brand new to the political scene. This experience as members will be giving us insight we’ve never gotten into the world of politics, and it’s all incredibly new to us. It may be new territory, but all of us are eager to learn more about the world of politics and bring new, fresh ideas to the table.

Odyssey Charter School is, much like our delegation, brand new. It has only been open 12 years, its doors opening in 2006. OCS first opened as an elementary school with a mathematics and Greek language-based curriculum. While it still continues to focus in on our Greek and mathematics studies, it has grown to expand on other topics of learning such as business and, as of this year, drivers ed. Our 10 graders will be the first to graduate in 2 years as the class of 2020, as the high school itself is only 2 years old. One very special aspect of our school is our Greek studies program. Our school hosts teachers from Greece, who come to America to teach our Greek Studies classes. Not only that, OCS is linked and in collaboration with schools over in Greece as well. For example; we have done collaborations with The Primary School of Nemea and the 2nd Gymnasium of Nafplion. These collaborations included teleconferences and joint studies of US and Greek art, along with a variety of other projects based around relations between the US and Greece. OCS is constantly growing and expanding our grade levels and campus sizes, as well as implementing new and more flexible teaching styles that challenge those of non-chartered public schools.

Odyssey just implemented the Youth and Government program this year, and already many of our fellow students have jumped at the opportunity to participate in our American political system. As OCS grows, we hope that this program will grow with it, and that our delegation will grow from just three, to an expansive team.

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Meet Our Delegation: Middletown

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By Aayush Jonnagadla

Welcome! We are the Middletown Family YMCA delegation, located in Middletown, Delaware. This is our first year in existence as a YIG delegation! Since the YMCA that our delegation represents is just a temporary location, we unfortunately don’t have the space to have meetings at the YMCA, so we meet at the Appoquinimink Library or the Christiana Emergency Care Center. Our delegation consists of 6 delegates, with one of YDLs, Aayush Jonnagadla (managing the judicial delegates and Y culture), running for Attorney General this year. Our other YDL, Justin Chan (managing the legislative delegates), has applied for leadership positions as well. Most of the students from our delegation go to Middletown High School, but we do also have some delegates from MOT Charter High School and The Charter School of Wilmington. Interestingly enough, our delegation only has one member who is a returning delegate; the rest of our delegates are all first-years! In addition, our delegation advisor, Rachel West, is new to the Middletown area and used to be the advisor for the Salesianum delegation.

 

Meet Our Delegation: CSW

pastedImage0.pngBy: Neel Anand and Anudeep Chennuri

We are the Charter School of Wilmington delegation, a YIG delegation based in The Charter School of Wilmington. We are an excited delegation that is looking to perform well in conference this year! The Charter delegation is very involved in Youth and Government and has been for the past six years; with fifty-nine people, it is the largest delegation in all of Delaware. Our size creates a large community with many different people from many different backgrounds, who have all come together to create one family. Our delegation is run by Lucy Zuo, Ishan Kasat, Maddie Oberschmidt, Ria Swaminathan, Swetha Sankar, and most importantly, Felicia Flores, who is our 2018 Youth Governor. Felicia has participated and thrived in YIG for seven years, making her an experienced individual well-suited to run both our delegation and YIG as a whole. One of our most profound moments as a delegation was at last year’s conference, Felicia decided to hand out pins with a positive message to members of our delegation. These pins quickly spread around the conference as a symbol of friendship among delegates and represented our delegation’s love for such an amazing program. The CSW delegation is ecstatic for this upcoming year and aims to succeed but also make lasting memories this year in Youth in Government!

Meet the Brandywine Delegation

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By Senta Ritter,

Currently located at Springer Middle School in North Wilmington, Brandywine’s delegation meetings have been filled with fun and laughter from excited delegates, new and old. The small delegation has a total of 9 registered delegates, with more to come. It may be tiny but the spirit of the YMCA’s core values are always present in its determined delegates. Brandywine’s delegation meetings always include a fun icebreaker to make everyone feel at home. Being a small delegation comes with the advantage of the ability to create a close-knit community. Delegates always joking and sharing new ideas creates a sense of comfort at delegation meetings as they work to prepare for the conference.

There have been a total of 14 governors from the Brandywine YMCA delegation, with the first one serving in 1971! As one of the oldest delegations, the Brandywine Delegation has been in existence for at least 47 years.

This year some ambitious delegates are running for leadership positions, these include; Jake Augustus Poppiti, running for the cabinet position of Secretary of Correction, Safety, and Homeland Security; and Aidan Kennard, running for Secretary of the Senate.

Additionally, Sarah Jones is acting as Editor-in-Chief of the Press Corps. She is very excited about the 50th anniversary year,  “…it’s a great opportunity to do awesome things for the program this year…”, and hopes that all of the years that she has spent in YIG will help her do the 50th anniversary justice.

All of the delegates can’t wait for the exciting 50th anniversary and hope to see you soon!

Meet the Seaford High School Delegation

IMG_4824.jpgBy Marley Fishburn

The Seaford High School delegation is the southernmost deputation and we are determined to represent Sussex county with integrity in our stature and eloquence in our debates. We are one of the newer delegations, 2018 being our fifth year to participate formally in the Model Legislative and Judicial Conference, and we are intent on making this year our best. The Seaford High delegation is currently home to 14 delegates. Our size creates a tone of friendship and community that larger groups and delegations may not be able to achieve. Due to this closeness we are able to speak truthfully and candidly to each other when reviewing bills, articles, and debates. In 2017 one of our first year delegates, Noelle Kuhoric, attended the Conference on National Affairs along with 12 other delegates from Delaware. She recalls her experience: “Cona was truly was one of  the best experiences of my life and lead me to grow even more as a person among those who are alike me; as well as challenge me, and push me to stay true to myself and fight for my beliefs. I would encourage anyone who has to opportunity to go to take it and run with and make the most out of your time while there and even in YIG all together.” Our YDL, Marley Fishburn, also plans on running for Photo Video Director of Press. Seaford plans to meet 2018 with hopeful and determined spirits and we look forward to making this year exectional.

Be Humble

Have you ever really thought about the beauty of the nighttime sky? The awe is from the balls of fire that reside much further than man could travel in a lifetime. However, if all we saw was light from these stars we would take every individual one for granted. See the real reason why the sky is so beautiful at night is because of the darkness in between the illuminating specks. The truth revealed about the beauty of night is parallel to the beauty of our life on Earth. A life that is full of bad times and good times.

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On Wednesday, June 14,  the Governor’s Conference began in Washington, DC. On the first day, 42 teens in some of the highest positions of power in their state programs were sent the the Lincoln Memorial for the service project. The service project was far from glamorous. A sickness in the reflecting pool had led to the death of over 60 birds and caused a horrible smell in the heat. Yet, not a single kid declined going into the drained reflecting pool area and picking up every coin that sits on the concrete. The lesson that the gentleman running the service project was aiming to teach us is that no matter how much power you hold you must never think that any task that can positively impact another person is beneath you. Overall, stay humble.

IMG_3467This humble theme was carried throughout the whole conference. When hearing about the journey of the 41 other kids, you were humbled. When hearing each of them speak, you were humbled. When speakers came to give us advice, we were humbled. When we walked through the monuments and Arlington, we were humbled. When we attended the Congressional Baseball Game and saw the comradery of opposing parties in the aftermath of a tragic shooting, we were humbled. When we met all the alumni that attended the Gala, we were humbled. Thus, that seemed to have been the purpose of the entire 5 days in Washington, DC. What I took away was that nothing good will come from a group of people that believe that they are the center of the universe. Rather,  the possibilities are endless when they put aside their pride and accept each others opinions, values, and all that makes them who they are with genuine love.

IMG_3463All 42 participants came from their regular lives to a singular star within a universe. They were given a family in which the members embraced  you no matter who you truly are. A family that will be there for you for the rest of your life that came from all around America. However, at one point on Saturday night we all were told to look up while we sat on a grassy area in the middle the capital of our country. What we saw made us feel small but proud to be apart of  the priceless gift of being alive.

IMG_3468I found myself crying on the train ride back because I just wanted to stay in that space of such intense light forever. Any place that we all live seems the darkest corner in existence compared to the conference we just left, but at least we got to experience such light. My goal is to create such a blissful time for the participants of my program in Delaware.

Thank you to the YMCA for showing me what true happiness feels like so that I may attempt to spread that feeling to others and to always do so humbly. Also, I am eternally grateful for all the loving people you have brought into my life that will support me for the rest of time.

 

 

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Leadership

By Sarah Jones

Since Training and Elections Conference, and for some even before then, your 2017 Youth in Government leadership has been working to plan and prepare for the upcoming Model Legislative Conference.

 

James Humes once said “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” A good leader is the one who listens to those they lead and engineer their vision based on what they learned.

In YiG

 

Leading is such a heavy word and it comes loaded with all kinds of responsibilities. Lucky for us our 2017 youth leadership, both elected and appointed, are more than capable and ready to bear that weight. They all proudly exemplify the four core values

A Turbulent Tie in the Senate

 

Debate heightened in each chamber yesterday over Clancy Gates’ No-Knock Raids Bill. Representative Gates, expressed that he was in fact very nervous for the debate of such a controversial bill, but was excited that it could invoke so much discussion. After debate and lobbyist speeches, the Senate was left in a tie. Lucy Zuo, of the Charter School of Wilmington Delegation, said that the debate was very divided, strong, and interesting in the Senate. Some pros brought up for the bill included protecting citizens and police officers while providing privacy and state of mind for citizens of Delaware. However, some Senators expressed the worry that evidence could be easily destroyed in many cases before the police could search. Senator Zuo, also explained the feeling in the room as the votes were counted, she said, “the room was very tense, and we all knew that it would be a very close vote, if not evenly split.” First, the bill was said to have been passed, but then someone called division and the vote was recounted. After the recount, the Senators realized that it was an even tie. Richie Edwards, the President of the Senate, had to vote to decide if the bill was passed or reconsidered for Amendments. Senators knew he was very nervous, as he reread the bill and carefully reviewed the argument, but in the end Edwards voted to pass the bill. After the bill was passed, excitement surged through the Senate room, and everyone seemed excited to pass something so controversial. Clancy revealed that he was very proud of the bill and everyone who worked hard to perfect it with him. Congratulations to Clancy Gates and everyone involved in the passing of this bill!

The Mixer

 

IMG_5395.JPGBy: Benj Schwartz
This year’s mixer was jam packed with entertaining and enjoyable games. To start off, the delegates played a form of bingo in which each box was a random description. The goal was to meet new people and have them sign the box that related to them. Examples of the topics in the boxes could range from “someone shorter than five foot four” to “someone who plays soccer”. After the delegate had bingo they would get a piece of paper with a picture of a part of a burger. The delegate would go around and try to find others with different parts (cheese, bun, lettuce, etc.) to finish and complete the burger. First group of people to complete their burger and sit down wins. The next game was a crazy and wacky fashion show. Two groups would combine and pick one person to represent them in the fashion show. They were allowed to use newspaper and tape to dress up their representative as best they could, without speaking. Zak Baillie took home first place for the second year in a row with his incredible walk across the room. Lastly, the delegates played a game in which their group of around 14 to 15 people would gather in a circle and reach across each other to form a giant knot. Without letting go, delegates would try to untangle their gigantic knot by crawling under, stepping over, and wiggling through each other. The Mixer allowed delegates to meet new people, have fun, and interact with each other through crazy games.

 

Lobbying for a Better Bill  

DSCN2920.JPGBy: Katie Thompson

The lobbyists are hard at work here in legislative hall, as they have been given a company that they must represent. The delegates in the lobbyist branch argue to either support or oppose a bill, based on how their companies would most likely act upon it. The lobbyists are given a one to two minute time slot, (the time is determined by however long the pro/con speakers get, and how many lobbyists wish to speak on the bill) to argue whether or not the chamber should or should not pass the bill currently on the floor. In this one to two minute time slot, the lobbyist give their company’s point of view and state and explain the reasons why the bill should or should not travel to the next chamber, (or to Governor Campbell’s office if it is already in the second chamber). The lobbyists’ organizations/companies range from universities, to major corporations such as DuPont and W.L. Gore Associates, to nonprofit   organizations such as Sierra Club. No matter how different the companies and organizations may be, they all have the same goal: to influence the legislators to pass bills that would benefit them and persuade them to have bills that wouldn’t fail.