Last month students from Rockland County high schools joined students from all over New York to participate in the YMCA Youth and Government Conference in Albany.
The 88 Rockland County students at the conference simulated the state government legislative process including the study of public issues, debate of public policy, writing of legislation and a mock law-making experience in state legislative chambers.
Hans Lueders, of Pearl River, served as Lieutenant Governor and Maria Henry of Nyack served as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. They presided over the mock senate where students introduced and debated relevant bills.
Nicholas Marshall and Mariah Salter, of Nyack, introduced a bill to prohibit smoking in multi-housing units, which successfully passed. Student delegates also put forward bills concerning, drug testing for those on probation, and prisoners donating their bodies to science.
North Rocklanders, by Amber Aspinall, Spencer DuBoff, and Osirus Rivas presented a bill to address bullying in public schools. The bill aimed to create a safer learning environment by identifying and punishing students accused of bullying through stringent investigation.
Principal Justices Kevin Parakkattu, Ericka Finan, Tom Muthig of Pearl River led the judicial program along with attorneys Grace Kocubinski, Nikita Metha. They were part of the group named Best Law Firm. Matthew Scanlon and Brendan Conneeley received Judicial Exemplar awards for their representation as attorneys.
Ani Marellapudi served as controller, and Nicholas Marshall as Teddy Roosevelt Liaison. Pat Brosnan, the lobbyist liaison, served in the executive cabinet advising the Youth Governor Paige Hughes on implementing her agenda that focused on educational reform and economic development.
Claire Greenwood, Linnea Chesman, and Emily Stepper, all from Pearl River, along with Spencer DuBoff, of North Rockland served as committee chairs. Maria Henry, of Nyack, received the Clement Duran Scholarship Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and service to the program and her community.
Lowell Hunt, of Pearl River, as well as Maria Henry and Emil Stepper, from Nyack, were selected to attend the Conference on National Affairs based on their excellent debating and participation. Kevin Parakkattu and Claire Greenwood were named as alternates.