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SEMS students attend mock legislature
1129 Y Club mock legislature
SEMS students who attended the Y Clubs of Georgia Junior Youth Assembly were, left to right, Stephen Quinones, Grant Poling, Abigail Havlin, Caitlyn Lariscy, Athena Russell, Rachel Dukarski, Logan Byrd, Antoine Sturdivant, Jackson Butler, Brian Nichols and Thomas Patterson. Not pictured: Jonathan Morra. - photo by Photo provided

“The 37th Y Clubs of Georgia Junior Youth Assembly will come to order.”

“Will the senators please rise for the oath of office?”

“Mr. Speaker, is it not true?”

The above statements became the “order of the day” as more than 200 Y Club members from sixth, seventh and eighth grades statewide attended the 37th Y Clubs of Georgia Junior Youth Assembly, a mock legislative conference sponsored by the YMCA. Twelve local students from South Effingham Middle School made the recent trip to Atlanta to attend Junior Youth Assembly.

The three-day mock legislature gave the young “senators” and “representatives” a chance to learn first-hand the practical operation of state government. Numerous bills were written and debated by the students throughout the conference dealing with such subjects as student driver’s licenses, health lifestyle choices and school security.

The “Senate” and “House” were arranged to resemble the set-up of the actual Senate and House in the state Capitol. The YMCA was careful in seeing that the procedure used during the Junior Youth Assembly was as close as possible to that followed by actual state legislators. Students also got a behind-the-scenes tour of the state Capitol and interacted and asked questions of actual senators and representatives.

Students were encouraged to write a bill they would like to see become a law. Only 48 bills were chosen to be discussed on the assembly floor.

SEMS students wrote 11 of the bills. Of the 10 that passed the House and Senate committees, two were from SEMS students: Jackson Bulter and Jonathan Morra.

Jackson Butler and Rachel Dukarski also received awards for the top two outstanding bills in the Senate.