Students learn lawmaking process

Fike delegation debates, passes bills in youth legislature

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Youth and Government delegates from Fike High School represented their school and the Wilson Family YMCA at the YMCA North Carolina Youth Legislature in Raleigh from Feb. 9-12.

More than 1,000 students from across the state participated in the conference with Fike’s group of 35 delegates, nine of them being seniors and first-year members comprising almost half of the group.

Kathie Davis is executive director at the Wilson Family YMCA and said the group has been recognized several times as an outstanding club.

Fike social studies teacher Michelle Galloway leads the students and started the Youth and Government Club at Fike, beginning a delegation with the local YMCA in 2010.

At this year’s conference, two of the bills from the Wilson delegates were approved by the Youth and Government governor. The process for getting a bill passed is challenging. The bill must pass the student House of Representatives and Senate before being presented to the governor, who did not sign many bills into law this year.

“These students have truly distinguished themselves as true leaders and have demonstrated exemplary behavior,” said Davis, acknowledging Galloway’s leadership. “I’m so proud of these students and their commitment.”

The students stayed at the Sheraton and Marriott in Raleigh with advisers for the four-day conference. They walked to the General Assembly and attended meetings at the Raleigh Convention Center.

In the club, students experience government first-hand. They debate and discuss issues with their peers.

Davis said the club demonstrates that “democracy must be learned by every generation. It’s a way for them to practice government.”

Students complete judicial briefs, write bills, learn lobbying skills, report on all proceedings and practice parliamentary procedure.

She said that if a delegation’s bill gets passed, members get excited because it’s hard to get a bill passed in the youth legislature. Students participate at the conference in a mock legislative session, work on different bills and learn about the branches of government.

“It really does bring together the brightest students,” she said.

Galloway said many of Fike’s judicial delegates were successful in winning their oral arguments through the Court of Appeals process.

“Our delegates were respectful and represented both the Wilson Family YMCA and Fike High School with integrity,” she said.

Last fall, the club set a goal to win the community service award. Members’ community service projects included donating money to a holiday food drive and the Fike blood drive to provide prize incentives to encourage participation; adopting a Fike community family at Christmas, providing them with food, clothing, gifts, and stockings; and paying some student technology fees to enable non-Youth and Government students to have a Chromebook for their school use during the year.

Fike won the Spirit of Service award at the conference. Galloway said she couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men and women.