Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:24 pm
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Clubs: Youth and Government

Time: 3 p.m.
Place: Room 216
Sponsor: Marc Grossman, David Swaney
President: Laura Mirviss, Jasleen Salwan
Anyone walking past room 216 will hear students discussing how to pass new laws. People may here snatches of phrases such as, "I move that we…," "I second the motion" and "I rise to a point of…". What they are hearing are students in Youth and Government preparing for the annual mock-legislative session in Annapolis.

Youth and Government is an organization sponsored by the YMCA that enables students to participate and gain experience in law-making. Students spend the whole year researching and writing an individual bill to submit to the mock-legislative session. The bills address major issues pertaining to Maryland such as health care reform, gay marriage and driving laws.

Part of the students' training is to learn and practice parliamentary procedure for debate during legislative sessions. During meetings, the students practice debating each other and defending their bills while using parliamentary procedure. Co-presidents Jasleen Salwan and Laura Mirviss decide the varying meeting times.

The mock-legislative session takes place in Annapolis during April every year. The trip is three days long, during which student delegations throughout Maryland gather to form their own legislative session based on the Maryland General Assembly. During the session, students reenact a legislative conference complete with officers including the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House and the Governor, all of whom are elected prior to the trip. Apart from the sessions, the trip also includes social activities such as an ice cream social, a dance and a banquet.

Youth and Government began at Blair in 1999. Former Blair teacher Geanne Tremonti sponsored the club for three years before passing the sponsorship on to David Swaney. Blair only accepts 30 students into Youth and Government, so students who want to join must first apply. To apply, Blazers submit an idea for a bill along with three supporting statements. Salwan and Mirviss sort through the applications and with sponsors Marc Grossman and Swaney, decide who will participate in Youth and Government.

Grossman feels that the activity is extremely beneficial to students' knowledge of the American government. "Youth and Government is one of the best programs at Blair because it gives students first hand experience at participating in government," Grossman says. "Not only do we talk about it, but we go to the places laws are made and we make them."

Anyone interested in joining Youth and Government should contact Marc Grossman, David Swaney, Laura Mirviss or Jasleen Salwan.

Club beat by Emily Hsiao