Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Youth in Government


Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Youth in Government

December 8, 2023

Portrait of a Graduate in Action is a regular feature that provides greater meaning and examples to the Warwick Valley Central School District’s Portrait of a Graduate, a representation of the district’s priority goals for teaching and learning to create graduates who are collaborators, communicators, creators and innovators, ethical and global citizens, resilient individuals, problem-solvers, and life-long learners.

The Warwick Valley High School Youth in Government program had 15 students participate in the Orange County Youth in Government’s annual Steering Convention recently at Newburgh Free Academy.

WVHS students prepared speeches to run for 11 mock political positions/offices across the local, state, and federal government levels. Eight students qualified to be one of the leading candidates for the general election vote in early 2024.

The political convention allows students to follow and understand part of the political process of nominating candidates and campaigning for office.  

WVHS is proud to announce that eight Wildcats qualified to be the leading candidates for the general election vote scheduled for early 2024. These eight individuals will run against a candidate from another participating Youth in Government school.

Students in WVHS’s Youth in Government program are learning Portrait of a Graduate skills, including learning to be an Ethical and Global Citizen. Ethical and Global Citizens are neighbors to the world, exhibiting empathy, compassion, and respect for others. They strive to understand a variety of cultures and perspectives outside their own, including language study. They consider the issues of the day through the lens of local, national, and global perspectives – from social issues to environmental issues. Ethical and Global Citizens must act with integrity, be community-minded and understand the foundations of our nation – both rights and privileges – and the responsibilities we share to others in the global community. Students in the program are involved in mock, local government, running for office and passing legislation. They also shadow local officials.

WVHS Youth in Government President Paxton Honerkamp will be the Peoples Party candidate for New York State Governor. Additionally, the Peoples Party nominated three other Wildcats: Michael Kelly for New York State Assemblyperson, Abigail Gatdula for New York State Senator and Milad Alaie for Orange County Family Court Judge. The Citizens Party also nominated four Wildcats for mock offices: Christian Katsabanis for New York State Attorney General, Robert Morris for New York State Senator, Quinn Nowakowski for Orange County Family Court Judge, and Gary Polakoff for Orange County Executive. 

“Mr. Jereme Safier and I are extremely proud of all the students that participated in the convention, especially those that won their respective party’s nomination for office,” said Advisor Mr. Kevan Ottochian. “Program members represented WVHS with integrity and spoke with passion. I truly believe we have the winning formula to keep the Youth in Government trophy in Warwick for another year. America’s future is very bright because of our students and their dedicated efforts. Go Wildcats!”

Each student will have their speech filmed and compiled into a single video by the Warwick Valley TV production team, led by Dan Cecconie, that will be distributed and shown in all Orange County social studies classes for the general election. The winners will have the opportunity to chaperone their respective position and elected official in spring 2024.

Students and teachers in the Youth in Government program


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