With Justice as a Motto, St. Joe Students Take on the 2019 YAG Convention

Olivia Staph and Kara Greger get their bill signed into law!

Jefferson City, MO, the capital city of Missouri, has prided itself on being a community of civility, justice and legislation since it became the capital in 1821. Participants in the St. Joe delegation of YAG took this reputation to heart, and modeled every debate as such. With engaging points, conditioned cases, and confident public speaking, St. Joe’s YAG truly exemplified the core values of St. Joe, and the capital city.

Members of the legislative branch each prepared a bill for change, and brought it to the floor for debate. Each student was individually successful, as each student was able to present and debate their bill with pride and passion.

More specifically, seniors, and YAG leaders, Kara Greger ‘20, and Olivia Stapf ‘20, presented a bill that was passed in the House, the Senate, and later, was signed into law. Olivia and Kara sought justice for teens who show interest in impacting their government, by lowering the voting age to 16. Both women exemplified activism, and justice in their efforts to give teens a say in their government.

Addie Engelmeyer, Secretary of the House says that, “it was clear to everyone that these students were passionate, and worked in hopes of accomplishing a lower voting age.”

Juniors, Lily Bayer ‘21, and Megan Wilcutt ‘21, received acknowledgement for their hard work, effort and perseverance with their bill, that required a woman to be employed on every corporate board. Though controversial, this bill was well-written, and acknowledged as such from administrators and students at YAG.
Grace Bradley ‘22 says about the bill, “This bill was really well-written, and relevant to the time period. This bill really helped draw attention to women’s rights, and our constant fight for equality.”

Additionally, members of the Judicial branch immersed themselves in the state’s judicial system, by participating in mock trials, the appeals system, and argument for innocence and prosecution. St. Joe students reflected strong leaders, as each argued her point with integrity, and skill.

Sophie Maniscalco ‘21, and Ainsley Hurford ‘20 were both chosen to go to semi-finals, based on their individual scores in trials. After advancing, the girls were paired with new partners, with one of the other semi-finalists. The girls were then split into two rooms for two different trials, where they had to prepare their argument for the next morning.
In reference to her hard work at YAG, Sophie Maniscalco ‘20 says, “We had to work really hard when preparing our arguments which, for me, meant staying up until 3 am reading case law!”

In conclusion, no matter what branch, what bill, or what case was being argued for, St. Joe students truly represented our school in a powerful way. Leadership, equality, respect, and honesty were just a few of the qualities students exhibited at the convention.
Olivia Hattrich, a member of St. Joe’s legislative branch says, “St. Joe girls represented our school really well in their ability to speak out about what is right. Overall, YAG really helped me to gain confidence in my public speaking abilities.”