Loy Norrix student delegation makes strides at the 2022 Michigan Youth in Government early-spring conference


Credit: Mark Beougher

Juniors Nina Molitor, Hannah Locke, Clara Moss, Yacine Lo, and Ana Dunfee (left to right) participated in the Model Judiciary Program section of the Youth in Government Conference. They made it to the semi-finals of the mock trial competition.

Sophie Grover, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Gen-z is the future of the world. Political involvement and activism has been a huge interest and passion to the generation.
This year, Loy Norrix students Darren Sperti, Jack Novotny, Claire Beougher, Ana Dunfee, Nina Molitor, Clara Moss, Hannah Locke and Yacine Lo participated in the YMCA’s Michigan Youth in Government Program (MYIG) and went to this year’s early-spring conference.
According to the YMCA, MYIG’s goal is “To provide leadership training to meet the needs of a democratic society and to develop an understanding and awareness of Michigan state government and national issues.”There are many different sections in MYIG, including the legislative branch, executive branch and the model judiciary. Sperti, a senior at Loy Norrix, participated in the legislative branch and had a seat in the senate.
“It gave me an opportunity to see how that [government] works and how bill passing works too,” said Sperti.
This was Norrix’s first year having a delegation at the spring conference. Sperti said, “I’m really proud of how Norrix did in this. This is the first time we’ve had a delegation in MIYG. The fact that our only lobbyist in the program got two awards, I think that was really phenomenal.”
Spertis’ bill, which would mandate the creation of a Public Bank for the state of Michigan, passed through both chambers, but was turned down by the youth governor.
Novotny, a junior at Norrix, won best lobbyist and got an invitation to the national conference in Washington D.C.
“Basically as a lobbyist, it was our job to go into the committees that meet…and try and get legislation that we wanted passed or not passed,” said Novotny. “We went around to try and get as many signatures as possible to get a bill, so it would show up on a ballot.”
Novotny said around 420 people were there. The conference took place in the capitol and at a law firm across the street, in Lansing, Michigan, giving students the opportunity to really get the whole experience by allowing them to get a feel of what working in the capitol would feel like.
“It kinda showed a new perspective,” said Novotny.
Dunfee, Molitor, Moss, Locke and Lo, all juniors at Norrix, participated in the Model Judiciary Program, or in other words, mock trial.
Locke said there are three rounds. In the first round there are six trials. The trials are scored by a point system, determining who moves on to the semi-finals, and the same with the final round. Norrix’s delegation made it to the semi-finals.
“Each of us played an attorney and a witness, depending on whether we were prosecution or defense that trial,” said Dunfee. “I definitely think that this solidified my desire to go into law or politics when I grow up. I loved the atmosphere and everything that I learned while I was there.”
Beougher, a senior at LN, has been in MYIG since sixth grade, getting involved with the program through seventh grade social studies teacher Mary Burleson at Linden Grove Middle School.
“I’ve been in the legislature pretty much every year,” said Beougher.
This year, Beougher was the Speaker of the House, a position she was elected to in the fall. Last year she was in the governor’s cabinet, which she had to apply to and was picked by the student governor. Her duty was to preside over the House.
Beougher says MYIG has encouraged her to go into politics when she graduates. She plans on double majoring in political science and environmental studies. She hasn’t committed to a program yet.
Beougher and Hollis Masterson, another senior at Norrix, plan on attending the late- spring conference in March.
“I really hope more people will sign up for the delegation. I was really fortunate to have a great delegation this year,” said Beougher.