Heathwood Delegation Shines at 2019 YIG Conference
A record 40 Upper School students took part in the 2019 South Carolina Youth in Government conference Nov. 21-23 in downtown Columbia. Over the course of the weekend, three bills by Heathwood students were signed into law, four students were recognized for their successful work as lobbyists, two students advanced to the final round in appellate mock court competition while another was selected to argue a crucial bill challenge, and a Heathwood student was selected to serve as one of the conference's nine justices.
Run by the YMCA, Youth in Government seeks to create the next generation of good citizens by providing students with hands-on experience in legislative and appellate processes in state and national government. Some 1600 students from all over the state take part in the annual South Carolina YIG conference.
The three bills that were successfully steered through the entire legislative process by Heathwood students and signed into law were:
1. An Act to Enforce the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to Donate Excess Food to Nonprofits
Authors: Senators Ellie Singerling, M Roney, and Addie-Grace Cook
2. An Act to Extend Voting Time in South Carolina
Authors: Senators Pete Peterson, Caroline Tinch, Austin Tuller
3. An Act to Provide Proper Drug Rehabilitation and Treatment in South Carolina's Women's Prisons
Authors: Representatives Jett Pindar, Brooklyn Moore
Ellie, M and Addie-Grace's bill also had the distinction of being the first bill signed into law at this year's YIG session.
Heathwood students Caleb Runyan, Liam Scanlon, Mia Singerling, and Hugh Willcox were recognized for their work as lobbyists in the lobbyist firm that had the highest success rate at the conference. Students participating on judicial side of the conference also received awards. Appeals attorneys Van Clarke and Nico Adamo made it to the final round of the appellate mock court competition. Appeals Attorney Liam Quan was selected to argue a bill challenge against the student attorney general. And Faith Robinson was appointed as a justice.
With 1600 students in attendance, earning recognition at YIG is challenging, so the Heathwood delegation's achievements are impressive, said Upper School Government Teacher Julie Firetag. For example, some 600 bills were submitted by students from around the state, and each bill must go through committee and then be approved by both the House and the Senate before being signed by the governor, meaning the vast majority never make it through the entire process.