Continued from E-news . . .
The student leaders of the Conference spend two days in Annapolis in “Officer Training”, preparing for their leadership roles. They are older students in their third or fourth year at the Y Youth & Government Conference. The top jobs -Youth Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and the Chief Justices – are elected at the end of the Conference each year and announced during the closing session. Gideon Epstein was elected the 2016 Youth Governor.
Gideon, quite simply, is an extraordinary young man. He has an uncanny ability to connect with students from many different backgrounds. It’s no wonder they elected him to be their Youth Governor. He is passionate about socio-political change, especially reducing the educational achievement gap that exists between children whose families have means and those who do not.
Gideon is a senior at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. He learned about Y Youth & Government in 9th Grade when he decided to join. At that time, the school’s delegation consisted of only five members. Gideon helped grow that number to 23. Gideon says his initial interest in Youth & Government stems from his family’s dinner conversations which centered on political and socioeconomic policies. Being a part of the Youth & Government program “fanned the flames” of his interest.
Joining Y Youth & Government greatly eased Gideon’s transition from a private middle school to a large public high school. He considers himself to be a social person but admits he faced a lot of social challenges in his freshman year at Walter Johnson. Gideon was elected to a Youth & Government leadership role each of his four years in Y Youth & Government. He explained that the greatest gifts he received from Youth & Government were how to lead by example and how to be a mentor. In his words, “joining Y Youth & Government was a defining moment in my life.”