ATLANTA — Twenty-eight high school students from Forsyth County recently participated in the 70th annual Georgia Youth Assembly at the State Capitol in downtown Atlanta.
The students, who hailed from Y-Clubs at West Forsyth High, Horizon Christian Academy and Forsyth County Home School, were among nearly 400 students from across the state who took part in the three-day event.
Youth Assembly started as a mock legislature for Georgia youth sponsored by the State YMCA of Georgia in 1944. It has since grown to include mock judicial and executive branches, as well as mock lobbyists and journalists.
While there, the students assumed the positions of the Georgia General Assembly. Each prepared a bill beforehand on a topic important to them to present and debate.
According to Holly Reeves of Forsyth County Home School, the debate can get “exciting at times because everyone has very strong opinions,” but “everyone is very respectful.”
Legislation that is passed at Youth Assembly and signed by the Youth Governor is presented to the Georgia General Assembly for consideration. Many of the laws passed in Youth Assembly have become laws over the years.
“This is the most realistic way to experience our government first-hand,” said Mary Rose Reeves, also of Forsyth County Home School. “I have attended Youth Assembly for the past three years … it has been a great experience.”
Many Representatives and Senators sponsor their seats in support of Youth Assembly, including state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming.
Gov. Nathan Deal addressed the students at a banquet.
Y-Club also sponsors a mock United Nations Assembly in the spring, a Washington, D.C., seminar and other training conferences for high school students.