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Debating the Way to Domination: Baylor's Youth in Government Team
Alisha Chandra

Over the course of this school year, members of Baylor’s Debate Club have participated in various conferences such as the Southeastern High School Model United Nations, Harvard Model Congress, and most recently, the Tennessee Youth in Government Volunteer Conference. Held within the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol Building, Youth in Government, or YIG, allows high school students the opportunity to partake in civic education by acting as state representatives. Each conference delegate submits a bill to the conference, which consists of a possible idea or change they would like to see made in Tennessee, and those bills form the basis for debate in committee. 

Over 600 delegates who attend YIG are divided into chambers based on age and experience, with members of the Red chambers, or the most advanced delegates, debating in the actual Senate chamber at the desks of state representatives. In addition to the delegates of the conference, students also can hold coveted officer positions, such as Governor and Speaker of the House/Senate, which must be applied and even campaigned for. This year, two Baylor students served as officers at the Volunteer YIG conference: Fatima Sohani ‘22 was Speaker Pro-Temp of the Blue Senate and Olivia Hankins ‘22 was Floor Leader of the Red House. Next year, Timothy George ‘23 and Addison Johnson ‘23 will also serve as officers, with George serving as Blue Lieutenant Governor and Johnson serving as Speaker of the White House. 

Of this year’s 36 Baylor delegates, several found the conference to be an enriching experience, with Angela Yoon ‘24 stating that, for her, “one of the most rewarding parts of the YIG conference was the opportunity to meet with like-minded peers from across the state”, while Tate Harrison ‘25 commented that he “enjoyed playing the role of a statesperson” for the duration of the conference.

Baylor delegates throughout all chambers were also recognized with awards: Sophia Baleeiro ‘23, Catherine Campbell ‘23, Benjamin Daniel ‘25, Alisha Chandra ‘25, Porter Stinson ‘23, Luciana Hemphill ‘25, Patrick Russell ‘22, Tina Zheng ‘22, Amelia Langston ‘23, Ollie Ellis ‘25, Loren Puchalski ‘24, Angela Yoon ‘24, Natalie Puchalski ‘23, Kaan Volkan ‘23, Hans Renlund ‘24, Lars Renlund ‘24, Hunter Huckabay ‘23, Evelyn Stein ‘23, Charlotte Murphree ‘23, and Caleb Nunes ‘22 all received awards.

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