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Dowell, Faubion, Boyd and MHS Students Shine in Youth & Government District 5 Competition

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, November 30, 2017

McKinney, Texas – Dowell Middle School history teacher Judith Anderson-Bruess introduced the YMCA Jr. Youth & Government program to her Dowell students back in 2005. A few years later, some of those students moved on to McKinney Boyd High School and got involved in the high school version of the program.

Since those early efforts, McKinney ISD has been a perennial standout—at both levels—in a competition that is designed to foster leadership skills and educate students about the legislative and judicial inner workings of our government—to develop statesmanship and social responsibility.

Over the first 12 years that MISD students participated in the program, five were elected governor at the state conference in Austin, the highest achievement in the program. Along the way, a fairly lengthy list of other MISD students received distinguished honors—and this year has been no different.

On November 18, the MISD Youth and Government middle and high school teams—more than 70 strong—joined about 1,000 other Dallas-area students at Duncanville High School for the YMCA Youth and Government and Jr. Youth and Government District 5 Conference.

Davis Winn from Dowell was chosen as the candidate to run for governor at the state middle school competition in Austin (Feb. 23–25), making him the sixth MISD student overall to earn the candidacy, and if he wins, the sixth to claim the title of Youth and Government Governor of Texas. Joining him at the state conference as junior officers will be fellow Dowell students Matteo Greco, Reid Salvador and Alex Thomas. Mckenzy Smith from Boyd was chosen to represent District 5 as the candidate for president pro tempore at the state high school conference (Jan. 25–28).

Twenty-nine other students from Dowell, Faubion Middle School, Boyd and McKinney High School also earned high honors at the District 5 competition.

“It’s the best year that we’ve ever had in the 13 years that we’ve had Youth and Government here in McKinney ISD,” said Anderson-Bruess. “Both our high school and middle school programs are doing well.”

In the legislative component of the District 5 conference, students drafted bills based on current issues and worked with other student legislators to try to push those bills through into law. In the middle school Youth and Government competition 21 students earned honors, and in the high school legislature, eight students earned recognition.

Distinguished Delegate in Jr. Legislative:
Emma Balfay (Dowell)
Natalie Burrell (Dowell)
Serkan Gomez (Dowell)
Matteo Greco (Dowell)
Gavin Grubb (Dowell)
Mitchell Heuvel (Dowell)
Lukas Hillman (Dowell)
Wyatt Huggins (Dowell)
Steven Masley (Dowell)
Drue Maugaotega (Dowell)
Jax Schuck (Dowell)
Alyssia Simmons (Faubion)
Davis Winn (Dowell)

Jr. Distinguished Chair and Clerk:
Hailey Keller and Sydney Comnick (Dowell)
Shane Clayton and Celeste Frey (Dowell)

Jr. State Affairs:
Janie Gantt (Dowell)
Catelyn Washerlesky (Dowell)

Jr. officers elected to represent District 5 at State:
Matteo Greco (Dowell) for Duran House Speaker
Reid Salvador (Dowell) for Duran Council Speaker
Alex Thomas (Dowell) for Speaker of the House
Davis Winn (Dowell) for Jr. Governor of the State of Texas

Distinguished Delegates in High School Legislative:
Rajpal Bal (Boyd)
Michael Brown (Boyd)
Vivienne Garner (Boyd)
Kathryn Myers (Boyd)
Jordyn Nevelle (Boyd)
Nicholas Noble (Boyd)
Ariana Palomo (MHS)

High school officer elected to represent District 5 at State:
Mckenzy Smith (Boyd)

It has been a great year thus far for the Youth and Government teams from McKinney ISD and a gratifying 13-year run for Anderson-Bruess, but she won’t take credit for her teams’ achievements.

“I think what I enjoy most is seeing the kids being so successful and just taking the tools that I’ve given them and just running with them,” she said. “It’s their success. They know what to do with it, and that’s what I like to see. They’re pretty much doing it themselves.”

About Youth and Government
YMCA Youth and Government is a national YMCA program, active in approximately 40 states. The first Youth and Government program took place in 1936 in New York. The Texas Program began in 1946. Today, nearly 25,000 students annually take part in state Youth and Government conferences nationwide (including Model State Government and Model United Nations conferences), with 3,300 adult volunteers and YMCA staff serving as adult advisors. Many of these advisors were involved throughout their own high school careers and return as adults to help “give back” to a new generation of youth leaders.

The purpose of Youth and Government is to prepare a selected group of young people for moral and political leadership in the American democratic process by providing guidance, training and experience in the theory and practice of determining public policy on the state level. It is called “a laboratory in citizenship and government.” (Source: YMCA)

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