Illinois State Senator Steve McClure recently welcomed high school students from the 54th Senate District to take part in a mock legislative hearing as part of his Youth Advisory Council (YAC) program. The program aims to inspire future leaders and encourage them to consider careers in public service.
During the YAC visit to the Illinois State Capitol complex, students had the opportunity to meet with lawmakers, local leaders, lobbyists, and other government officials. Newly elected Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher was among those who met with the students.
Participants in the YAC program expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunity to learn about the lawmaking process and engage with government officials. Litchfield High School student Camden Quarton stated, “You take civics class, but to actually be in the real thing, it gives a representation of what it’s actually like to vote and learn about real things.”
In the afternoon, the students took on the roles of lawmakers, lobbyists, and concerned citizens in a mock legislative hearing. They debated and discussed legislation in an actual Senate committee room in the Capitol, gaining valuable experience in the legislative process.
Porta High School student Madelyn Gilbert spoke about her experience, saying, “Definitely learning how to debate more, and how to have a good debate without just yelling at each other.”
Senator McClure emphasized the importance of programs like YAC in fostering responsible and engaged citizens. He encourages interested high school students to inquire about taking part in the program, which typically meets once per year.
“These students basically become legislators for a day. They learn what it’s like to work with an idea, see it in bill form, and then conduct a mock committee hearing to find out how government actually works,” said McClure. “We had a lot of great students this year, who had a lot of passionate ideas about government and public policy, and it’s inspiring to see them engage in the process.”