Nineteen members of the St. Joseph’s Academy Youth and Government (YAG) Club joined high school students from across the state for the 2018 Louisiana Youth Legislature, held November 29-December 1 at the Louisiana State Capitol.
The annual three-day, mock-legislative session is designed to enable students to learn about the legislative process by acting as representatives, senators, Supreme Court justices and press delegates and by writing, debating and presenting bills to their peers.
Junior Faith Woods served on the state executive board as secretary of state. Junior Annie Blanchard was elected to serve as next year’s speaker of the house pro tempore.
Bills written and presented by senior Maryn Matthews and the duo of seniors Julia Henderson and Anna LeJeune were passed by both houses of the legislature and signed into law by the Youth Legislature governor.
Woods said the session was an amazing experience. She said she especially enjoyed serving on the state executive board. “It was incredibly rewarding,” she said. “Working as a team with my fellow state board members was a great learning experience. In this position, I had the ability to watch SJA delegates throughout the conference. I saw how the dedication, hard work and passion of my fellow Stickers influenced the conference in a positive way. The passing of two bills and the election of Annie to speaker pro tempore truly made this conference extraordinary. I’m so proud of SJA YAG and hope we continue to make positive contributions to this program.”
Blanchard said this year’s Youth Legislature exceeded all expectations. “I love debating relevant state issues with my peers; my views are always challenged,” she said. “I have met friends from across the state through this conference, and I encourage everyone to give it a try. Getting to experience the legislative process, starting from writing ideas into a bill, pushing it through committee and two chambers and possibly getting it signed into law by fellow delegates is so rewarding and fun. All delegates present a bill in hopes of getting it passed, and not many make the cut. Having two bills pass from SJA is a big accomplishment for a delegation of our size, and I’m so proud of all of the hard work that our entire delegation put in.”
LeJeune said she was proud to see the bill she co-authored pass into law. She also enjoyed being in the State Capitol. “It was a lot of fun, and I wish I had another year of Youth Leg,” she said.
Patrick O’Hara is moderator of Youth and Government.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Patrick O'Hara