When the Washington state Youth Legislature session begins next week, two Sammamish teens will hold positions in the mock government.
Abby Rose Christensen, a 17-year-old who is homeschooled, was selected as lieutenant governor, and Lauren Hawkins, an 18-year-old Eastlake High School senior, was chosen as secretary of state.
The YMCA’s Youth and Government Program holds delegation meetings throughout the year, at which students debate topics and learn about bill writing, parliamentary procedure, research skills, debate strategies, networking and public speaking skills. At the end of each year, the teens spend four days in Olympia running a mock version of the government. This year’s session will be April 30 through May 3.
Christensen has previously served in the Youth Legislature as an O’Brien House member, eighth-grade Senate chair and a representative. She has worked on bills in previous years about allowing guide dogs in public places, healthier school lunch options, regulation of prescription medications for children and more. She said that being involved in this program has taught her the importance of remaining politically active.
Hawkins has introduced two bills into the Youth Legislature in previous years, about removing the WASL from graduation requirements, removing standardized testing as a graduation requirement under the No Child Let Behind Act, as well as working on other topics.
“Both girls concur that the best part of the program is the truly wonderful friendships they have built with high school students from all over our state, with varied beliefs and world views,” wrote Christensen’s mother, Paula Harper-Christensen.
About 450 students will participate in the Youth Legislature this year.
For more information about the program, visit www.youthandgovernment.org/HOME.asp, or, to watch live broadcasts during next week’s session, visit www.TVW.org.