Recently, more than 600 students from all across New York State traveled to the state capital for the 83rd annual New York State YMCA Youth and Government Conference, a gathering of the brightest student minds with an interest in government and public service. Over the long weekend, students who had spent countless hours researching and writing original laws and briefs on state appellate cases, participated in simulated government and experiential civic engagement inside the state’s actual legislative chambers. Under the leadership of their longtime advisors Robert Feeney and Patricia Costell, William Floyd students once again dazzled their competition by winning nine out of 12 state elected positions including governor, lieutenant governor, speaker and deputy speaker of Assembly Freedom, speaker and deputy speaker of Assembly Liberty, chief justice, attorney general and public defender. They also won a plethora of awards.
“The perennial success of the William Floyd Youth & Government program never ceases to amaze me,” said Kevin M. Coster, Superintendent of Schools, William Floyd School District. “William Floyd students continually outperform their competition and have become the gold standard of Youth and Government in New York State; these achievements are a credit to the hard work, preparation and dedication of the students, as well as to their advisors, Mr. Feeney and Ms. Costell, who mentor these future leaders.”
William Floyd High School junior Maille Bowerman won her election for governor, the top leadership position, and will have the honor of presiding over the 84th conference in 2020. This is her second statewide leadership position as she was previously elected to serve as chief justice as a sophomore for this year’s conference. She also took home the best attorney award as a freshman. Maille’s brothers Alex Bowerman and Logan Murphy served as chief justices, respectively, during their time in Youth & Government.
In fact, Maille’s ascension to the governorship is the same path taken by her brother, Alex, who was chief justice before becoming governor and presided over the 69th conference in 2005. Alex is now a successful attorney, currently serving as a senior associate at the Hogan Lovells law firm in Philadelphia, PA. He has experience with state, federal and U.S. Supreme Court cases.
For the second year in a row, William Floyd students were elected to serve in nine of those 12 leadership positions: Maille Bowerman, governor; Patrick Barnett, lieutenant governor; Kenny Gillio, speaker of Assembly Liberty; Teresa Tran, deputy speaker of Assembly Liberty; George Laopodis, speaker of Assembly Freedom; Jenny Le, attorney general; Skyler Mongardi, deputy speaker of Assembly Freedom; Nathalia Reis, chief justice; and Holden Voelger, public defender.
In addition to winning 75 percent of the leadership positions, William Floyd delegates took home numerous awards, including: Hamnah Irfan and Chris Coonan earning the “Best Law Firm Leader” award; Amir Abdualiev and Emily Muniz winning the “Best Brief” award; Karlee Ingegno taking home the “Best Attorney” award; William Paca Middle School 8th grader Jasmine Ramos earning the “Best Lobbyist” award for the Senate; Calvin Jean and Kenny Gillio earning the “Best Debater” designations for Assembly Liberty; and Anthony Schiano taking home the “Best Debater” award for Assembly Freedom.
Achieving the “Best Bills” for their respective chambers were Kenny Gillio, Ed Gubelman and Cheryl Attard for Assembly Liberty; Skyler Mongardi, Baylee Vester and Harrison Bender for Assembly Freedom; and Dahlia Ramos, Odalys Fuentes, Courtney Pisano and Lesli Lopez for the Senate.
Patrick Barnett also received the Fosdick-San Antonio Memorial Scholarship, and Katie Lindley received the Clement A. Duran Award.
Additionally, Patrick Barnett, Maille Bowerman, Katie Lindley, and Dahlia Ramos were selected to represent New York State at the YMCA Conference on National Affairs, which brings 500 of the best students in each state program to debate federal proposals this July in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Selected as alternates to the program were Farihah Chowdhury, Alana Hansraj, Robert Henn, George Lapodis, Joseph Mazzarella, Nathalia Reis, and Neha Yousuf. These students selected were the best at the Albany conference and represented the largest student contingent of any school in the program.
For Dahlia Ramos, this will be her third year attending the Conference on National Affairs. For Patrick Barnett, Maille Bowerman and Katie Lindley, this will be their second year in a row.
Additional photos are available in the flickr album below!