TICONDEROGA-New York State Gov. Paige Hughes...
Well, not exactly, but the Ticonderoga High School junior was elected New York State youth governor during the 2011 Youth and Government conference in Albany earlier this month.
"I cannot begin to explain how much of a honor it is to serve New York State as the 76th youth governor," Hughes said. "I have strived to be elected to this position since my eighth grade year and the time has finally come for me to give back not only to the program itself, but also to the individuals within my local chapter, school and community who have supported me. Serving as youth governor will definitely be a challenge, but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help the Youth and Government program reach new heights throughout the course of the upcoming year."
Hughes was elected by more than 600 teens attending the conference.
A junior at Ti High, Hughes has been active in Youth and Government since eighth grade. During her four years in Youth and Government, Hughes has served as Conference on National Affairs delegate, Guest Delegate to the Alabama State Youth and Government conference, Governor's cabinet, Press Secretary, Steering Committee member, and bill sponsor.
This year, Hughes and fellow Ti students Will Lawrie and Miranda Davis submitted and defended a bill to increase penalties for first time driving while intoxicated offenders. The measure passed.
Hughes expects her term to be busy.
"As youth governor, I hope to establish unity among the teens of our state," she said. "Although we are surrounded in a society of negativity, we gather in Albany for one weekend to show that we want to make a difference. Sure, each delegate comes from a different area of the state, but it is because of our common enthusiasm that we are able to understand each other and further come together as one large extended family. I strongly believe that our indistinguishable passion for government proves that there really is more to the teens of New York State."
Joining Hughes at the state conference were Ticonderoga representatives Joe Gonyeau, Miranda Davis, Will Lawrie, Katie Palandrani, Kevin Densmore, Karney Manning and Chris Burns. Katie Palandrani, a Ticonderoga sophomore, received a CONA alternate nomination for 2012.
Ticonderoga students shined at the conference, according to Danielle Hughes, Ti Youth and Government adviser.
"Every year, Ticonderoga is one of the smallest delegations that travels to Albany, but they are always recognized in some capacity for their passion for the program or outstanding work while there," the adviser said. "And, Ticonderoga's members are dedicated and involved not only in the Youth and Government program but in their school and local communities."
The Youth and Government program at Ticonderoga High School has a long history. Hughes is the second youth governor from Ti High in the last 15 years.
"Many Ticonderoga students have held a variety of positions through the years, many bills on issues of land, education and criminal offenses have been proposed by Ticonderoga students and many lessons of participatory democracy have been shared," said adviser Hughes. "For many of Ticonderoga's Youth and Government members, participation in the yearly Albany conference in the legislative chambers the New York State Capitol Building has been an experience that often ranks as one of the highlights of their high school careers."
While Paige Hughes serves as youth governor, she intends to continue her other activities at Ti High. She is a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Voice, Yearbook, College for Every Student mentoring program, Spanish Club, band, chorus and soccer team. She recently represented Ticonderoga Central School at a round table meeting with New York State Commissioner of Education Dr. David M. Steiner and was the school's representative to the League of Women Voters Students Inside Albany program.