Arming teachers, outlawing gay conversion camps, and requiring all American adults to own a colony of bees. These are just some of the many topics Youth and Government Club members debated on their trip to the state capital.
The Mississippi Youth Legislature Conference was held from Nov. 14-18 in Jackson. At the conference, students from all over the state took on the roles of elected representatives and learned all about how the state and national governments work.
“It is a conference that’s been around for 60 years,” sponsor Toni Coleman said. “Different districts have teams that meet up every November to compete and legislate with each other.”
Each student created a bill that they presented and argued, hoping to get it to the elected student governor’s desk, to possibly be signed.
“My bill was raising the tobacco age from 18 to 21 years old in order to decrease tobacco in high schools and premature death,” Hailey Ellis said.
This was Ellis’ second time going to the conference, and she said she had a great experience.
“My bill passed all the way to the governor, but once it got to him, it was rejected due to a contradicting definition which I believe was due to when someone amended it,” the senior said.
Even though her bill was rejected, Ellis won the Outstanding Senator award. Many other CHHS students won similar awards, including Landon Bello, Kyle Heath, Cooper Jordan, Ana Le and Mary Lindsey.
“I got an award for Outstanding Representative,” Cooper Jordan said.
This was the sophomore’s first year in Youth and Government, and his bill did really well. It passed both houses and was signed by the governor.
“My bill was about net neutrality, which prevents Internet Service Providers from throttling data based on what that data is,” Jordan said. “My bill would implement Net Neutrality in Mississippi.”
Coleman said she was satisfied with the performance of the CHHS group, which was also named a Premier Delegation.
“We were one of only two schools from North Mississippi to go,” she said. “Every year we go, we perform phenomenally and I hope to continue that.”
The students enjoyed their time at the conference, and are hoping to continue to improve.
“This experience taught me how our government is really supposed to run,” Ellis said. “The youth of our country is the future, and we are going to change it for the better.”