Youth and Government


Ashlyn Dodson, Staff Writer

Students are fortunate enough to have a variety of clubs and organizations choose from. From Quidditch Club to HOSA, there is no shortage of opportunities for those seeking school involvement beyond the classroom. These clubs are not only an opportunity to make friends and find a hobby, but also to introduce students to occupations that may interest them. The Keller High Youth and Government club offers its members both comaradery and career options, with teams of students competing at district, state, and national meets in different areas of law.

Youth and Government is a club sponsored by the YMCA  that aims “to teach the fundamentals of democracy to the next generation.” Through this organization, students are able to study the basics of the U.S. court system, compete with others in an environment that fosters growth, and explore potential fields of employment. The challenges members of Youth and Government face also helps to improve classroom skills such as writing, public speaking, and forming an argument.

Keller Youth and Government members are able to compete in one of three categories: trial court, appellate, and legislative. In each area, students must complete extensive preparatory work and still be able to exercise quick-thinking skills while in competition. The trial court category offers students the opportunity to work in groups of five to eight people that compete in a mock-trial setting as attorneys, witnesses, judges, and bailiffs. All trial court teams across the U.S. are given the same case to work through at the beginning of the year. In each round of competition, these teams are scored on their presentation and ranked at the end of the competition based on their total score. Appellate members, like those in trial court, are given a case at the beginning of the year to work through. However, members of the appellate category compete in teams of two, and act solely as attorneys. These teams simulate trials in the court of appeals, which focuses on following standard court procedure. Legislative students work individually on bills they wish to be passed. At competition, they present their bills to other legislative members (the chamber), debating and working to sway the votes of their affiliates in favor of their bill.

This season, the Youth and Government club has competed at the district level and had teams advance to the state meet in all three categories. The club meets weekly to prepare for the upcoming state meet in Austin from January 25 through 28. Qualifying competitors will have the opportunity to participate in the national competition in Chicago. For any students interested in being part of the 2018-19 Youth and Government Club, contact staff sponsor Bonnie McLaughlin. Club meetings typically begin in late August or early September.