The Westfield Area Y congratulates the Cranford and Westfield High School Youth and Government students who recently participated in a three-day conference held at the State House in Trenton with an impressive array of awards, including Outstanding and Premier Delegations.  There were more than 550 students from high schools across New Jersey who participated in the program. Locally, the program is run at the Cranford and Westfield High Schools by the Westfield Area Y.

In 1936, YMCAs across the country began the Youth and Government program as a teen leadership exercise founded in the spirit of teaching civil responsibility to new generations of Americans.  Since then, Youth and Government programs have been established in 45 states, involving more than 50,000 teens across the country every year.  In 1938, Princeton Professor John F. Sly and Princeton President Harold Dodds founded the Youth and Government program in New Jersey. The two and a half day legislative simulation takes place in the historic New Jersey State House, where students’ debate bills that they have written, forge new friendships, and gain a deeper sense of civic awareness.  Through this program, students are better able to understand and get involved in political and public affairs; communicate their ideas and opinions; develop their research, writing and presentation skills; and understand the value of student leadership.

Eight local students served as officers for the Conference, helping to organize and run it.  Samantha Gruskin, Alexa Derman and Koryn Kraemer from Westfield High School served as officers as well as Kyle Mallon, Kellie Joyce, Noah Lee, Maria Schwartz and Tom Philip from Cranford High School.  

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Outstanding Delegate awards were won by the following Westfield High School Students:  Margaret Meyo, Jonathan Kelly, Andrew Zale, and Frank Guerriero. Three of eight possible Outstanding Legislation Awards were earned by Jared Geoghan, Bryanna Reinhardt, and Ben Kelly. They were recognized for the quality of the bills they wrote for conference.

Cranford High School students received Premier Delegation status; Will Pritchett, Catherine Doolan and Rachel White had their bills passed and signed into law.  Annie Bryant, Victoria Zebrowski and Owen Scott won Best Brief for the Courts and Annie also won Outstanding Judicial Advocate.  Susanna Jaramillo was elected Emergency Response Committee Chair for 2015. Emma Didzbalis won Premier Junior Legislator and Rachel White and Elsa Rodriguez won Premier State Person.

The students selected from Cranford High School to attend the Conference on National Affairs (CONA) at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in North Carolina June 29th-July 3rd were Ezra Lee, Kellie Joyce, Maria Schwartz, Noah Lee and Rachel White.  Students selected to attend from Westfield High School were Alexa Derman, Isabella Gelfand, JD Kelly and Frank Guerriero. Ellie Smith and Jill Rosenfeld will serve as CONA alternates.

Westfield High School students Andrew Zale and Frank Guerriero were recipients of the Premier Statesmen awards presented at the conference. In the Judiciary committee, the award for Premier First Year Delegate was given to Margaret Meyo. The Outstanding Executive Response Committee Delegate Award was given to Jonathan Kelly.  In addition, Frank Guerriero, Isabella Gelfand, Andrew Kuznetsov, Ed Dellarso, Jared Bansky and Maya Johnson passed bills at the conference.Elected as officers for next year’s conference were Andrew Kuzetsov, Andrew Zale, Koryn Kraemer, Ed Dellarso, Frank Guerriero, and Bryanna Reinhard.