Shrewsbury, NJ – Thirty three students from various Monmouth County high schools represented The Community YMCA at the 76th Annual Youth and Government Conference, April 4-6,at the historic State House in Trenton.

YMCA Youth and Government is a statewide civic engagement program that teaches middle school and high school students the value of democracy through hands-on learning experiences.

Five hundred students from across New Jersey attended the conference and had the chance to hear from lawmakers, including U.S. Congressman Rush Holt and Middlesex County Freeholder Kenneth Armwood.

“The student delegates learned the importance of public service while acting as legislators, Supreme Court justices, lobbyists, and members of the press as they spent the weekend debating bills, passing laws, and trying court cases,” said Jackie Normyle, The Community YMCA Teen Development Specialist. “Student delegates developed a deeper awareness and understanding of our political process and learned the value of critical thinking and problem solving skills,” she said.

President and CEO of The Community YMCA, Rhonda Anderson, noted, “Youth and Government is an example of how the Y is committed to helping young leaders reach their full potential and stay active through civic engagement programs. We are so proud of the students’ accomplishments at this year’s conference.”

The Community YMCA delegation was recognized with a number of awards at the conference’s closing ceremony. Caitlin Loh (Marine Academy of Science and Technology) was recognized for having successfully passed her legislation. Tom Toman (Red Bank Catholic High School) served as the Assembly Clerk. Jon Hatter (Biotechnology High School) was selected as the Premier Lobbyist by his peers. Chris LoMonaco (Red Bank Catholic High School) was honored with the Premier Advocate Award for the judiciary. Kaitlin Noel, Jackie Wong (Holmdel High School) and Christina Froelich (Middletown High School South) were elected to serve on the Youth Secretariat. Eva Jodar and Chelsea Walsh (Middletown High School South) were invited to participate as alternates for the prestigious Conference on National Affairs.

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Caption: Anthony Cendagorta (Left) from St. John Vianney High School and Chris LoMonaco (Right)

from Red Bank Catholic High School, present their side of the case in the Judiciary.

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Caption: Meghan Sheehan from Middletown South High School is acting as a NJ State Legislator in the NJ State Assembly.