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Monday April 16, 2018 at 12:04pm Age: 341 days
Category: High School, District


Orange County officials had their work cut out for them on April 6, when 10 Minisink Valley High School students contributed their competencies to 2018 Orange County Youth-in-Government Service Day. 

Inaugurated in 1944, Orange County’s Amy Bull Crist Youth-in-Government program offers participating students first-hand learning of the democratic process and the functioning of local government through mock conventions, student-run elections, and the shadowing of elected officials.

During a student-run Steering Convention and election last fall, MVHS Grady Brunelle, James Drake, Kyle Ferguson and Sebastian Peterson were "elected" to their county offices of choice, based on their campaign speeches. On Service Day, these four students shadowed the county officials corresponding to their November election victories. Sebastian Peterson shadowed County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus; James Drake shadowed District Attorney David M. Hoovler; Kyle Ferguson shadowed County Sheriff Carl DuBois; and Grady Brunelle shadowed County Clerk Annie Rabbitt.

The additional six students in Minisink’s delegation shadowed representatives of other County offices who volunteered their time to discuss their functions. They included Legislator Janet Sutherland, the Community Development Office, the Planning Board, Parks and Recreation, and the County Historian.

Sophomores Ryan Fogler and Ryan Schanzenbacher participated in a Mock Legislative Debate on “Laree’s Law,” which holds drug dealers accountable for overdose deaths. Students were provided with the same information packets given to legislators.

“This day gave students hands-on experience into leadership positions they will one day vote for and evaluate, as Orange County residents,” said Jessica Grasso, social studies teacher and program advisor. “We hope this event will motivate and inspire our students to be more active participants in our communities and government."

A luncheon sponsored by Orange-Ulster BOCES at the Middletown Holiday Inn conclude the program, and gave students an opportunity to meet and discuss the day’s experience.