WVHS Youth in Government students shadow local legislators


WVHS Youth in Government students shadow local legislators

April 25, 2022

Youth In Government (YIG) programs from six local high schools were celebrated during Orange County Service Day on Friday, April 8. The event took place at the Orange County Government Center in Goshen, where 13 students from Warwick Valley High School YIG met and job-shadowed county officials. Program advisor – and WVHS social studies program alumnus – Mr. Kevan Ottochian, led the group of delegates.

Most attendees participated in a mock debate over a social hosting law in the legislative chambers, while county legislators observed. After their debate, the students stayed in chambers to witness the legislators debate amendments to the social hosting law. After the legislators finished, the students stayed to speak with the county officials for an additional 25 minutes, where they not only received excellent insights and guidance, but even a few offers for summer internships and business cards to stay in touch.

Other attendees, who had won mock election races for county government positions in March, had the opportunity to job-shadow the office holders of the positions they had won, including County Sheriff, District Attorney, Family Court Judge, Community Development, and County Executive.

“The students had an incredible time and the day stoked their enthusiasm for government,” said Mr. Ottochian, who added that a highlight of the day was when County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus joined the conversation via Zoom from Italy, where he is on deployment with the United States Navy.

“One of our students, Lena Jodry, was on that call, and was inspired by his mission to serve local residents and help Ukrainian refugees abroad,” Mr. Ottochian said.

All the students who took part in the Zoom call were also offered summer internships.

“It was truly incredible,” said Mr. Ottochian. “Our Orange County Legislators could not have been more welcoming and open to our students. We’d like to extend a special thank you to the legislators from Warwick, Greenwood Lake, and Chester: Barry Cheney, Paul Ruszkiewicz, and Glen Ehlers.”

Mr. Ottochian and the YIG students also shared their gratitude with Orange County Government for hosting the day and to the Orange County Youth Bureau for its coordination of the event.

“As always, the students and I thank Warwick Valley School District for its wonderful support of this program,” said Mr. Ottichian. “It was an amazing day to be an educator; one that reinforced my choice to teach and inspire. I have no doubt that our future is bright. These students are committed to the rule of law and civic responsibility and spirit.”



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