Five Bethlehem Central students participated in this March’s 80th annual New York State Youth and Government Conference at the State Capitol in Albany. BC students Colin Baker (Junior), Dany Abraham (Junior), Jingxuan Liu (Sophomore), Evin Mattupurath (Freshman) and Christopher Baker (8th Grade) represented in District 2, which consists of the Capital District and surrounding areas. Over 500 students were present at this year’s conference, representing areas from all over New York State.
This state conference is part of a larger YMCA program called Youth & Government which allows high school students to learn about state government and it’s operations by participating in model-government programs. Prior to the conference, students — who initially begin this program at the local level — spent months identifying community issues, doing extensive research on their chosen issues and writing a document based on their findings. This preparation leads students to their district conference, where they are trained in parliamentary procedure, legislative committee process, debate, press relations, and lobbying techniques. By the time they reach the New York State conference, they are prepared to serve as delegates, debating bills on the floor of the legislature.
Colin Baker and Dany Abraham were nominated for “Best Bill” for their bill that mandates financial institutions to report suspected elder abuse. Jingxuan Liu and Evin Mattupurath presented a bill proposing an extension to the time period that an Amber Alert is issued. Both bills were debated in a pro and con debate, defended during a period of technical questions and passed and signed by the student Governor. Christopher Baker presented a Resolution as a part of the Teddy Roosevelt program providing a tax rebate for immigrants who participate in the New York State cell phone pilot program for learning English as a second language and wrote an article for the conference newspaper. Colin Baker has served as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet for the past two years and served as Assembly Liberty Liaison for this year’s conference.