Press Release

2022 DELAWARE YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE GREAT RETURN TO BASICS FOR DELEGATES

From physically-signed bills to fiery face-to-face debates, this year’s Delaware Youth in Government conference was a nice callback to the last in-person conference in 2019.

Dover, Delaware; April 10, 2022 – After two years of virtual conferences, Youth in Government is back in Dover for the 2022 Main Conference.  

The conference began with an energizing virtual Opening Ceremony on Friday, April 8th. Anesha introduced the 2022 leadership team: Youth Governor Kemper Cole, Chief Justice Claire Andreasen, Editor-in-Chief Jiya Patel, and Chief Lobbyist Mythili Satheesh. The Governors’ Debate and Chief Justice Debate occurred during this time. Although Nathan Cho is running unopposed for Youth Governor, there is a close race between the Chief Justice candidates Arielle Flaherty and Sara Brick.

Delegates arrived in Dover at Legislative Hall early on Saturday morning. Each branch hit the ground running, dividing and conquering Legislative Hall and Kent County Courthouse. The Legislative branch began presenting bills while the Judicial branch jumped into arguments. Lobbyists started to practice their speeches and press handed out article assignments.

Excited voices carry in the buildings, and we reflect on why Youth in Government was formed in the first place. Youth in Government, most commonly known as YIG, seeks to expose high school students to the inner workings of government as well as prepare them for future government professions. This organization is largely led by students along with a handful of advisors. The leadership team has worked tirelessly to ensure that the conference runs smoothly. 

Delegates were rewarded for their hard work with a delicious luncheon catered by Chipotle. Students gather around the table and dig into their well-earned meal. Both current and past YIG members advocate for the program because of the lifelong friendships and connections they have gained from the experience. Katie Gatelein, a third-year lobbyist remarked, “Although my time at YIG has been short, the bonds I’ve made are long lasting and the outcomes of this conference will follow me for the rest of my life.”

The highlight of the weekend was Senator Sarah McBride’s unplanned visit to Legislative Hall. She spoke with Youth Governor Kemper Cole and watched Dylan Thomas present her bill titled “This is What Democrats are Doing to Your Children.” Her bill regards making gender-affirming medications more readily available. The senator demonstrated kindness in accepting photo requests and questions from delegates, who were grateful for the opportunity to speak to an accomplished government figure. 

YIG members returned for the last day of the conference on Sunday. Each branch finalized their work from the weekend. The closing ceremony honors all delegates for their passion and participation, but gives special recognition to exceptional delegates. The day ends with tearful goodbyes as delegates look forward to another amazing conference next year.

Returning Delegate Interview

Ben Carroll – Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

Today I sat down with Charter School of Wilmington delegation member Allyson Vannatter, who is in her second year of Youth in Government. Allyson said that “this year is a lot more fun than last year,” referring to 2021’s virtual conference. “It really felt not connected at all and was just harder in general. There’s technical difficulties and not meeting people like you are today.” Many delegates feel similarly, much preferring seeing their peers face-to-face instead of on a screen.

Upon being asked what her favorite part of the in-person conference has been thus far, Allyson responded, “Connecting. It really is different sitting in the courtroom and going up, talking, being at the stand, and having the papers in front of you, not just staring at a screen with a blank canvas. It was really weird when judges would ask you questions online because [the microphone] would just be cutting off, which made no sense.”

Being an attorney has been a great experience for Allyson, and she told me she “wouldn’t want to be a justice for more than a year. Maybe Attorney General, that could be fun. And maybe Chief Justice if it’s my senior year because it’s different than just being an Associate Justice. Leadership would be fun.”

According to Allyson, this year’s case (William DeNolf v. The State of Olympus) is much more interesting than last year’s (Amy Underwood v. the University of Columbus) because it has “more leeway. You can talk for longer, there aren’t so few things… last year was about affirmative action, and it was really annoying in general. It was about a poem and college, and it was just weird… and she worked there but also worked against it and was trying to go to school there. It was really confusing.” Very confusing indeed. “I think this year’s is just better laid out, it’s concise, it gives you the ability to take the case and make it your own.” Perhaps this year’s case also revolving around murder was another factor in its appeal.

Recently, rumors have been circulating that our beloved governor, Kemper Cole, will not bathe himself without the presence of a rubber duck. Attempting to obtain public opinion, I asked for Allyson’s reaction to this behemoth of an accusation. She told me that she hadn’t heard of it. “More power to him. If he wants to do that, then he can go ahead and do that.”

2022 Youth In Government – Meet a New Delegate

Katie Ford – Dover Delegation

In a program as large and inclusive as Youth in Government, there are many people with varying degrees of experience. One of the most important demographics of the conference is the new members, as they are the ones who will learn throughout the conference in order to return again the next year and take over the spots of those delegates who graduate. One such new delegate is Isheta Kulshreshtha, from the Charter School of Wilmington Delegation.

Isheta is a member of the Legislative branch, and works within the Senate Chambers. This is her first year in Youth in Government. She joined when her friends told her about the program and she later learned more about it through a school fair. She said that it didn’t take much convincing for her to join the program after she had heard about it because she liked the idea of the program. Now that she has attended the conference, she says that the values of Youth in Government are something that she likes to see people abide by, and she feels really welcome. 

Isheta worked with many delegates within her delegation, including Delegate Donovan Dossous, to create her bill, “An Act Incentivizing Schools to Implement Extended Care Programs.” Her bill aims to give grants to schools that implement after-school care and morning care programs as a way to improve social behavior, intrinsic motivation, and concentration for students within the state. 

Everyone who does Youth in Government is going to like different aspects of the program. For Isheta, her favorite part of the program is getting to actually present her bill in a legislative hall chamber and receive feedback from her peers within the program. She spoke about how the conference was a really great experience and she’s glad that she joined the program in order to attend it. Isheta plans on returning next year.

An Interview with the Youth Governor

Jiya Patel – Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

Kemper Cole, our 2022 Youth Governor, took some time out of his very busy day in order to speak with us. He has spent so much time and effort into making this year’s conference – the first in-person conference in two years – a success.

Kemper joined YIG in 2017 when a friend of his, Swain, introduced him to the program. Kemper has always had an interest in politics and attended rallies for both Bernie and Hillary. Kemper immediately fell in love with YIG but unfortunately his friend did not… Swain quit the next year! Kemper shared that he met many incredible individuals who are now some of his closest friends. Since his first conference, the Youth Governor has accomplished a great deal. He was nominated for CONA and won the distinguished delegate award. Kemper also hosted the YMCA national youth assembly and is a youth advocate. 

Despite his impressive accomplishments at YIG, Kemper admitted sheepishly that he has only passed one bill. To be fair, he ran out of time to present his bill to the Senate during our virtual conference last year. Two years before that, his bill passed both the House and the Senate but was vetoed by the strict youth governor at the time, Ria Swaminathan (‘19). However, Kemper’s true dedication and ingenuity is apparent in the bill ideas he shared with us. His proposal about the UN international labor organization even made it to the general assembly, an honor claimed by only 10% of proposals. 

Before he left, Kemper offered some sage advice. He advised Nathan Cho, the 2023 Youth Governor candidate, to resist procrastination and to take the time to prepare for the conference. Kemper relayed how much he loved seeing everybody have fun this weekend – he did not encounter any stress! He urges the newer delegates to talk as much as they can and make connections. Kemper says that the intelligent, global friend group he has gained from YIG has influenced his life greatly.

Thank you Kemper for all of your hard work the past five years. Your YIG family knows you will do great things at Columbia next year!

Bill Spotlight: An Act to Mandate A Virtual Option for Those Impacted By the Coronavirus

By Ronin Max Sussex Delegation

As the 2021-2022 Youth in Government conference begins at legislative hall after two years of being virtual, it is hard to forget the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Delegates from across the state are taking the new changes in stride. One delegate from Sussex, Kanmani Durakkannan from the Sussex delegation has used the effects of the recent pandemic as inspiration for her bill. 

Kanmani’s bill, “An Act to Mandate a Virtual Option for Those Impacted by the Coronavirus,” proposes a mandate for schools to offer a virtual option for students who cannot attend school in person due to complications from COVID. Among some of the more topical bills of the conference, this bill aims to mitigate the gap in education caused by the recent Coronavirus pandemic, something she is all too familiar with. Back in February, Kanmani tested positive for COVID-19, and because her school has no virtual option for students, she was forced to miss ten days of school. Not a single class was live streamed or recorded for students unable to attend classes due to quarantine and Kanmani, a student usually at the top of her class, struggled to keep up with the workload. The lack of available resources caused students who already felt isolated to struggle even more and it is abundantly clear that something needs to be done as COVID-19 is still here and just as unpredictable as it was two years ago.

“An Act to Mandate a Virtual Option for Those Impacted by the Coronavirus” offers students the help they need to make education more accessible during the ongoing pandemic. After having her bill signed by Youth Governor Cole, Kanmani hopes to further pursue her passion for education reform after a strong end to her time in youth in government. 

Chief Justice Interview
Ben Carroll – Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

This year’s Delaware Youth in Government Chief Justice is Claire Andreasen. Claire is a member of the Charter School of Wilmington delegation and has been doing YIG for four years. I asked her some questions about her experiences in YIG.

Ben: What about the judicial branch has kept you interested in Youth in Government?

Claire: It’s a little cheesy, but I think it’s all about the community. Judicial has a very tight-knit community – a little bit smaller than leg – which I think makes it [great]. All the kids that do judicial are so passionate about it. It can be a lot of work sometimes, but they put so many hours into the briefs, into these oral arguments, and it’s something we can all really bond over. That’s what’s really kept me interested.

Ben: What in particular made you want to be Chief Justice?

Claire: I was really inspired by past Chief Justices. I liked how they made changes to the organization and uplifted other people throughout the organization through being positive and helpful people. I just want to be able to return that favor to future generations of younger YIG kids because it can be pretty intimidating as a first year.

Ben: You mentioned the previous justices. What do you think distinguishes you from them, or, I guess, what have you brought to the table this year as Chief Justice?

Claire: I’d like to think that I brought… hm. Well, this is our first year back from COVID and there were a lot of adjustments. I’d like to think that I helped transition back to an in-person model of conference efficiently without losing too many people. I also hope that I brought some communication improvements with Discord and all that stuff. I hope that that helped.

Ben: Do you have any advice for delegates who may be interested in being the Chief Justice, or any judicial (?) position in YIG?

Claire: I’d say [make] sure that you know the case and the material if you’re an attorney, because all those skills are going to help you in leadership positions as well since you’re going to need to know the case really well. Being well-spoken certainly helps, practicing your public speaking, and communicating with a lot of different people in the organization are also important.

Ben: What do you hope to see Youth in Government or judicial doing next year or in future years? Where does it go from here?

Claire: I really hope we’ll continue to gain numbers since they definitely took a hit during COVID. The virtual setting was, I guess, just less appealing. I think this is something that we’re all hoping for, but more of a community between leg and judicial. I think that’s something that’s already been fixing itself over the years. More participation from different branches [would be nice]. We have our first – in a couple of years – Sussex delegate in judicial, which is kind of exciting. We also had a significant portion from Western. Again, that’s something that’s kind of improving, but there could always be more diversity, I guess in terms of which delegations are participating in future years.

Ben: Alright. This is the most serious question I have to ask you. There is a rumor circulating that Kemper will not bathe without a rubber duck. What do you think of this?

Claire: I think that is perfectly valid. I think Kemper definitely needs his rubber duck in order to properly bathe. Yeah.

Thank you for your time, Claire. Thank you as well for helping orchestrate a spectacular return to Kent County Courthouse for this year’s Youth in Government conference.

Opening Ceremonies

By Ben Carroll, Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

As the 2022 Delaware Youth in Government Training and Elections Conference began, members of the judicial branch appeared eager to return to the Kent County Courthouse and get back to debating. The first portion of their day consisted of icebreakers, and after getting to know one another, our chief and associate justices introduced the mock case – Bronner v. Olympus.

In summary, Bronner v. Olympus involves the petitioner Bobby Bronner being accused of association with a drug cartel in the state of Olympus. However, Bronner was convicted in an indirect manner – a third-party cell phone carrier had provided records of a notorious drug trafficker who had recently associated with Bronner. Bronner claims his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the investigators of the case did not possess a warrant to search through phone records.

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court of the State of Olympus was that Bronner’s rights were not violated for two reasons: firstly, Bronner should not have expected to have privacy in his phone records because he used a third-party service, and secondly, the technology that was used is available for “general public use” and thus, can not be held liable for providing private information without the presence of a warrant.

The dissenting opinion of the Court was that Bronner’s rights guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment were, in fact, violated and that a warrant should have been required for the investigators to consider Bronner complicit.

Today’s pre-leg conference was a great introduction to the typical judicial processes for first-year delegates and a nice refresher for returning ones. It was also great practice for this year’s actual case, DeNolf v. Olympus, which we will be covering during our main conference this April.

Closing Ceremonies YIG 2021 3/28/21

by Ben Carroll, Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

After a long weekend of debating, bill-signing, and article-writing, the Youth in Government Model Legislative and Judicial Conference ended as it had begun: with a ceremony. Ms. Anesha Truesdale began with a welcome and a final introduction of this year’s leadership team, who announced awards within their branches.

Advisor Kat Caudle then spoke about how all the members will move on to do great things in their communities and in the world, and how much of success can be attributed to the work of delegates themselves and tireless efforts from advisors and alumni.

Following the awards were the announcements of the 2021-2022 leadership team. The next Chief Lobbyist will be Mythili Satheesh, the Editor in Chief will be Jiya Patel, the Youth Chief Justice will be Claire Andreasen, and the Youth Governor will be Kemper Cole.

Ms. Stephanie Messinger then announced the delegates selected to attend the National Judicial Conference (NJC) and Mr. Toph Patterson announced the delegates selected to attend the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA).

With that, the meeting was adjourned with a motion. DEYIG has continued doing what it do best: creating and talking about innovative bills, debating the constitutionality of different legal cases, and writing articles regardless of our conference format. Good luck to the new leaders in preparation for next year, and well done to all of our 2021 YIG delegates.

Awards:

Outstanding Delegate Awards:

-Lobbyist: Jaida Mosely

-Legislative Priorities (lobbyist): Katie Gatelin

-Press: Ben Carroll

-Attorney (judicial): Michaela Somers

-Judge (judicial): Iveena Mukherjee

-Brief of the Petitioner (judicial): Anh-Linh McKaskill and Iveena Mukherjee

-Brief of the Respondent (judicial): Mia Xie and Alina Li

-McKean Representative (legislative): Gianna Voges

-Rodney Representative (legislative): Roma Sarathi

-Senator (legislative): Georgia Angeletakis

-Legislation: Justin Terranova, Jillian Cain, Parker Cole, Pauline Zhuang, Defne Elbeyli, Georgia Angeletakis, and Nidhi Patel.

-Outstanding Overall Delegate: Sophia Douglas, Aristomenes Angeletakis, Iveena Mukherjee, and Suhani Mehta.

Judicial showcase winners: Michaela Somers & Erica Hong (respondents)

Highest-scoring attorney: Michaela Somers

Highest-scoring justice: Maya Moldra

Bill-passed delegates:

-Arjan Kahlon, Krish Matta, Parker Cole, Rebecca King, Samantha Oliver, Roma Sarathi, Suveer Ganta, Jillian Cain, Donovan Dossous, Ann Casarino & Emma DeGarbolewski, Katie Ford, Me’Aira Nuni, Nidhi Patel, Georgia Angeletakis, Emma Jefferson, Jade Buan, Kirti Daga, Defne Elbeyli, Emily Gracie, Shaana Singh, and Matthew Haimowitz.

James C. Hardcastle Memorial Scholarship Award: Kemper Cole

Character and Development awards: Kemper Cole, Roma Sarathi, Nathan Cho, Claire Andreasen, and Sara Brick.

NJC:

-Michaela Somers, Claire Andreasen, Sara Brick, Erica Hong, Autumn Shahan, Alicia Chu, Rebekah Cheong, and Iveena Mukherjee.

-Alternates: Emily Chimel, Lucia Gotera, Suhani Mehta, Meghan Virani, Saankya Suresh, and Arielle Flaherty.

CONA:

-Rebecca King, Nathan Cho, Sophia Douglas, Ricky Kiamilev, Gianna Voges, Emma DeGarbolewski, Kehbuma Nukuna, Matthew Haimowitz, Amrutha Veeramachineni, Jaida Mosely, Kemper Cole, Georgia Angeletakis, and Samantha Oliver.

-Alternates: Nidhi Patel, Yussra Salim, Suveer Ganta, Adithi Jonnagadla, Louise Poppiti, Donovan Dossous, Kanmani Duraikkanan, Yuvashki Khanna, Roma Sarathi, Kyle Wilson, Meagan Ursillo, Jillian Cain, Parker Cole, Emma Jefferson, Avery Young, and Aristomenes Angeletakis.

Our 2021 Youth Governor, Amrutha Veeramachineni

by Ryan Balu, Charter School of Wilmington Delegation

Our 2020-2021 Youth Governor Amrutha Veeramechineni has worked tirelessly with the other YIG leadership in the last few months to make this program, despite being virtual, an amazing experience for our 100+ delegates. Governor Veeramechineni first joined YIG in 2017 after she and her friends spontaneously decided to join the program. She had never expected the connection she would make with the organization. Amrutha states that she “saw so many passionate individuals, and … it was very refreshing to see individuals who were focused on actually advocating for changes that are necessary in order to benefit our nation.” 

In her 4 years, Amrutha describes her experience as delightful. She was given the opportunity to hold so many different leadership positions and grow not only as a leader but also as a person. Her highlights are the insightful debate she has had throughout her YIG conferences as well as her time at the Youth Conference on National Affairs. She loved meeting new delegates and connecting with people from all across the state.

To those just starting their Youth in Government journey, Amrutha advises to “stay determined and keep raising your hand (or placard if we were in person).” Amrutha suggests that all legislative delegates should go over bills prior to conference and write pro/con speeches in preparation for debate. Youth in Government is a great place to learn more about the world around you and learn to speak out for the change you believe in. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity and make the most of the 4 years you have in the program! As for the next Youth Governor, Amrutha emphasizes they should “just try your best,” and to those who did not get leadership positions this year, they should remember that YIG will still be a great experience with plenty of opportunities to lead your fellow delegates in the future. Here’s to the end of an amazing 2021 Youth in Government Conference and the start of an even better one next year!

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