WVHS Youth in Government Program earns second place at County Service Day


WVHS Youth in Government Program earns second place at County Service Day

April 12, 2024

The Warwick Valley High School Youth in Government Program took second place recently at the Orange County Service Day luncheon. They came up one point short from repeating as the best program and holding on to the Distinction of Merit for Outstanding Student Achievement trophy that Cornwall took home this year.

The Youth in Government Program is more than a club. It takes place in most Orange County high schools (13 total). The program has three main events that aim to recreate the political processes for participating students. Orange County Service Day, which is the final planned event of the year, took place on April 5th. Students that won mock offices from the program’s general election are automatically invited and several other students are asked to join and attend meetings at our county government offices, to honor the great effort that they have put forward with regards to our program.

Outside of Orange County Service Day, the program had several students win state-mock positions in the general election, in which they’re invited to meet state representatives in Albany this coming May. Christian Katsabanis won New York State Attorney General, Michael Kelly won NYS Assemblywoman, and Abigail Gatdula won NYS Senator. 

Christian Katsabanis and Abigail Gatdula joined Leila Morris, Robert Morris, Quinn Nowakowski (winner of Orange County Judge position), Milad Alaie, Gary Polakoff (winner of Orange County Executive position), Jayden Bussell, Arber Rukiqi, Alexzendria Rosario as Warwick’s representatives at the service day event. They represented the school and district with dignity. The program totals nearly 30 students. 

“It was extraordinary to observe these bright leaders as they networked with government officials inquiring about local issues, community service hours and internship opportunities,” program advisor Kevan Ottochian said. “I am very grateful to OU-BOCES, Orange County Government officials and the Orange County Youth Bureau for organizing and hosting our future leaders. The students are very appreciative for the opportunity to attend, which further fueled their passion for public service. The future is bright because of them.”

“I am so proud to have the opportunity to lead this exceptional group of leaders,” Mr. Ottochian said.” This wouldn’t be possible without the support of WVCSD, the Board of Education and the WVHS administration plus Mr. Jereme Safier and Mr. Scott Meyer. Their continued assistance will help us grow the program and work hard to recapture the Distinction of Merit for Outstanding Student Achievement for our school.”

Warwick Valley’s Gary Polakoff, right, talks with Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus on County Service Day.

Warwick Valley’s Gary Polakoff, right, gets pointers from Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus before reading a proclamation during an Orange County Legislature session on County Service Day.


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