Albany, NY - March 22nd, 2016 - The William Floyd Youth & Government Club continued its dominance at the 80th annual New York State YMCA Youth & Government conference held earlier this month in Albany. Under the steady guidance and leadership of advisors Robert Feeney and high school social studies teacher Patricia Costell, the students descended upon Albany along with 500 of their peers from across New York State to campaign, elect and lead a simulated government inside the state’s actual legislative chambers.
Topping the results of the past two year’s conferences in which they were elected to 15 of the 24 available leadership positions collectively, William Floyd students were elected to nine of the 12 state leadership positions including the positions of governor, lieutenant governor, president pro-tempore of the Senate, one of two Assembly speaker positions, both deputy speaker positions, attorney general and public defender.
Attaining the coveted and highly sought after leadership positions for the 2017 conference were: A.G. Chancellor, Governor; Sarah Mazzarella, Lieutenant Governor; Matthew Schneider, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate; Numaira Khan, Chief Justice; Alexandria Willets; Speaker of Assembly Liberty; Ryan Siegel, Deputy Speaker, Assembly Liberty; Evan Meinke, Deputy Speaker, Assembly Freedom; Ezekiel Torres, Attorney General; and Kayla Guarino, Public Defender.
The students also won a plethora of awards including “Best Bill” by Jamien Jean-Baptiste, David Maceroni and Dario Molina (Senate); Ava Adams, Kayla Amaya, Breanna Sharkey and Joshua Soto also won “Best Bill,” (Assembly Freedom); “Best Debater” went to Dawson Kropp (Assembly Freedom) and Travis Knoppert (Assembly Liberty); “Best Brief” went to Samantha Martucci (Case A); and Ezekiel Torres and Brianna Gulli (Case D); Ariana Duford, Kiera Horan and Ezekiel Torres won “Best Attorney” awards; and Nicole Cervone, A. G. Chancellor, Elizabeth Hildebrand; Sarah Mazzarella and Alexandria Willets were named delegates to attend the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA), a 10-day, nationwide summer conference which primarily focuses on gaining awareness of issues of national concerns, as well as increasing an understanding of the federal government and its relation to state, national and international affairs. Leah Antoval and Khadija Saad were named CONA alternate delegates.
“It is simply amazing how William Floyd continually outperforms their competition at this conference every single year,” said Kevin M. Coster, Superintendent of Schools, William Floyd School District. “To capture nine of the 12 leadership positions and a host of awards in a statewide competition – and to consistently meet or approach that number year after year – is a testament to the dedication of the students as well as their advisors, Mr. Feeney and Ms. Costell. It is great to see so many students involved and passionate about taking an active role in leadership and learning about government and public policy.”
Additionally, the following students presided over this year’s conference in their respective positions: Emma van Nieuwenhuizen, Lieutenant Governor; Leah Antovel, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate; A.G. Chancellor, Speaker of Assembly Freedom; Nicole Cervone, Deputy Speaker of Assembly Freedom; Alexandria Willets, Deputy Speaker of Assembly Liberty; Shannon Beattie, Chief Justice; and Jonathan Caputo, Attorney General.
Former New York State Senator and current first district Congressman Lee Zeldin (WF Class of 1998) is an alumnus of the program who served as Lieutenant Governor. Special thanks to New York State Senator Tom Croci for his support of the William Floyd Youth & Government Club.
Additional photos can be found on the William Floyd School District flickr page.