News and Events
The Fridley Youth In Government (YIG) delegation attended the Model Assembly from January 9-12, 2020. The YIG Model Assembly program is a student-led, realistic and complex simulation of Minnesota state government for 8-12th grade students. Over 35 Fridley High School (FHS) and Fridley Middle School (FMS) students participated in this year’s conference, held at the Minnesota State Capitol and Minneapolis Hilton.
At Model Assembly, students have the unique opportunity to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, cabinet members, and media representatives. This engaging learning style allows students to develop civic responsibility, strengthen public speaking skills, listen to delegates with different experiences, and debate issues and be involved in decision-making processes.
FHS freshman elected to Chief Judge of Court of Appeals
As a youth-led program, students run for office and are elected into leadership roles. FHS freshman Nate Thorp was elected to serve as the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals at the January 2021 Model Assembly. In this senior role, Thorp will schedule court cases, hire students as appointed officials, and attend training sessions and retreats throughout the next year.
Thorp said he enjoys the “judging,” aspect of YIG, as his role is to head the Court of Appeals and remain impartial as he listens to arguments from attorneys, reviews evidence and listens to testimonies. According to Thorp, his experience in YIG has influenced him to pursue law when he graduates from Fridley High School. “I originally thought I’d want to go into history, but I’ve now decided that I want to be a lawyer,” said Thorp, who said he’s been inspired by working one-on-one with his YIG mentor, an attorney who volunteers as a YIG advisor.
FHS sophomore named Most Outstanding Member of YIG Tribune, lands interview with Minnesota Gov. Walz
In addition to serving legislative and judicial roles, students can gain journalistic experience as media specialists and reporters. Fridley High School sophomore Ryken Farr took full advantage of this opportunity, thriving as a newspaper reporter at this year’s conference. Through his work, he earned the title of Most Outstanding Member of YIG Tribune Newspaper, a recognition that was voted on by his peers.
An appointed position, Farr said he was ecstatic that he was selected to report for the YIG Tribune. Farr, who plans to study engineering in college, has always thought it would be fun to experience journalism.
Farr said he enjoyed the variety and freedom that went along with the reporting role. Following the YIG opening ceremony, Farr jumped on the opportunity to interview Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan for a story. “I asked a question pertaining to diversity: How do they feel about the diversity of the students in YIG and how well will this fit the diversity of governing bodies in the future? They said they greatly value the diversity we have here, and it makes them hopeful for roles in government in the future.”
Read Ryken’s YIG Tribune Newspaper Story Here
FHS Senior earns Model Assembly Servant Leader Award
FHS senior Vincent Christianson was one of two recipients of the YIG Model Assembly Servant Leader Award. This award, developed by YIG youth leaders, recognizes the notion that “servant leadership is a staple of the value system that YIG strives to instill in all delegates – the desire to serve others and stand for ideas larger than themselves.” The purpose of the award is to showcase student leaders who are found outside the bounds of elected office, and who embody the spirit of selfless giving.
According to YIG officers and advisors, Christianson exhibited an immense amount of selflessness and bravery as they engaged their fellow House representatives in a debate about conversion therapy. The discussion was held during a mock House discussion, introducing a bill that would ban the practice. From introduction to discussion, voting and passage, students participate in debates that mimic the process in the House. Christianson’s speech changed and uplifted the culture in the House, evolving from typical discussion and debate into a conversation where participants could openly share their beliefs and opinions, advocate for real change, and listen to diverse perspectives.
Christianson said participating in YIG has been one of the best experiences in high school. “It’s an amazing program and I’ve learned so much, especially in terms of public speaking and becoming comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people,” said Christianson. “To me personally, earning this award shows that I’ve taken this experience to heart. One of the biggest things that our advisors always say is ‘You get out of YIG, what you put into YIG,’ and getting this award made me feel like I’ve put everything into YIG.”
The Fridley YIG program is popular among high school and middle school students, continuing to boast one of the largest delegations in the state of Minnesota. Although the costs of the program have risen throughout the years, Fridley has been able to maintain its participation numbers through student YIG scholarships from Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD), Ann Bancroft Foundation, YMCA, and the Fridley Lions Club.
“I don’t think the YIG program would be possible without the generosity of the Fridley Lions,” said FHS YIG advisor Steve Holt. “And the amount of scholarships we are able to get and encourage students to apply for. We are very appreciative and we are able to maintain the program and ensure access for every single one of our students to participate if they want to.”