Addison Trail students share experiences of participating in Youth and Government

Throughout the school year, 11 Addison Trail students learned about/experienced various aspects of the state government through participating in the school’s Youth and Government club.

Youth and Government is a simulation of the Illinois General Assembly. Students immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement, debate issues that affect citizens and propose legislation through taking on the roles of legislators, attorneys, lobbyists and more.

The students involved with the club this year are Nour Albanna, Gabby Carpenter, Nathan Elakkatt, David Lazzara, Natalia Loncar, Jackie Macedo, Sydney Mattinson, Natalie Ramirez, Cinthya Robles, Savannah Sosin and Riannah Varghese. They participated in pre-legislative sessions during the school year to develop their positions and prepare for the culminating sessions, which took place from March 7 to 10 in Springfield.

Sosin, Carpenter and Ramirez served as student attorneys and earned the following awards:

  • 1st place in brief writing
  • 2nd place in oral arguments
  • 1st place overall for their case

“This club is one way to get involved with something larger than yourself, learn to interact with people who have different perspectives from your own and form opinions on world issues to make informed decisions when voting for leaders,” said Mattinson, who has been part of Youth and Government for two years and served as a legislative assistant this year. “I joined because I love politics. I learned that despite what you hear, the majority of people want to have polite and respectful conversation.”

Several club members said they’ve gained valuable skills through being part of Youth and Government, including:

  • Public speaking

  • Confidence in sharing their opinions in an appropriate manner

  • Sharing information in a direct and concise format

  • Understanding the functions, operations and responsibilities of state-level government

  • How to get involved to be an informed and engaged citizen

  • Interacting with legislators

  • Working with students from throughout Illinois

  • Experiences to add on their résumé

For more information, contact Addison Trail social studies teacher and Youth and Government adviser LeVonne Cescolini-Boyer at or 630-458-4371.