Students Enact Change at Annual Youth and Government Convention

Posted on 12/11/2019
FHSD students attend YAG Convention

Almost 100 students from Francis Howell High School, Francis Howell Central High School, Bryan Middle School, and Francis Howell Middle School visited Missouri’s State Capitol in November for the 71st annual Missouri Youth and Government Convention. Youth and Government (YAG) allows students to experience life as a state representative.

“Youth and Government is a student-driven simulation of state government, which involved 1,200 Missouri youth in grades 8-12 between two conventions,” said Jennifer Flores, social studies teacher and YAG sponsor at FHHS. “All participants in Missouri come together for this three-day event held at the State Capitol.”

FHHS students attend YAG ConventionDuring the conference, attending high school students follow parliamentary procedures and rules of the Missouri General Assembly. Over 80 rules are laid out in the Conference Guidebook that detail which members of the legislative body can present bills, vote, and how debating within the General Assembly takes place.

Students were able to present their bills to the House. Francis Howell students presented bills on a variety of topics, including mental health practices in the school setting, the regulation of electronic cigarettes, school start times, single-use plastic bags, a redesign of the State flag, improvements to prenatal care, privacy screens in public bathrooms, and the start date of public schools.

Two FHHS students served in leadership roles during the conference. Alison Schultz, FHHS senior, presided as the Speaker of the House, while Rebecca Amos, FHHS senior, served as the Media Director. “The most valuable thing I learned from YAG as a whole is that our generation’s youth has a strong voice,” said Schultz. “My fellow peers at YAG are some of the brightest and most passionate people you will ever meet. Every year I leave YAG filled with hope, and it’s because of them.”

FHMS students attend YAG ConventionHigh school and middle school students participate in different activities during the Convention. “The eighth-grade Civic Leadership Institute program is designed to introduce students to the law-making process in Congress,” said Bryan Richards, social studies teacher and YAG sponsor at Bryan Middle. “They write bills themselves, debate them in committees, and vote to see if their ideas become laws.” Eighth-graders are given the opportunity to see the high school students in action, in hopes of encouraging them to continue their YAG participation after middle school.

“The students start right when they get there and go all day and evening long!” said Andrea Jandt, U.S. history teacher and YAG sponsor at Bryan Middle. “In the eighth-grade program in just 50-ish hours, our students went on a scavenger hunt in the Capitol building, discussed ‘Healthy Eating and Active Living’ initiatives with the YMCA staff, discussed the judicial process and observed the high school trial teams arguing before the judges, did large and small group discussions about current issues that are important to students, participated in a campaign and election event, drew up bill proposals, learned how to debate using proper parliamentary procedure, observed the high school legislations debating their bills, debated their bills to try to pass them out of committee, and interacted with the media program by being interviewed or by reading the daily newspaper or watching the daily new program.”

FHC students attend YAG Convention     Bryan Middle attends YAG Convention

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