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Malik Bah speaking to a group of students.

Ninth grade student Malik Bah gives speech to Humphrey House.

The annual YMCA-led Youth in Government conference, held at the Minnesota State Capitol complex, hosted 1,500 students from all over Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin from Thursday, January 4 to Sunday, January 7. Included in that number were 69 Fridley High School students and 14 Fridley Middle School students. Over the weekend, students participated in a simulation of the Minnesota State Government and became legislators, lawyers, judges, lobbyists, media representatives, or cabinet members running a state model government in the Capitol Complex.

Yahira Baretto-Paredes speaks at the YIG conference.

Junior Yahira Baretto-Paredes gives a speech at the Town Hall debate.

“This program develops leadership, civic, and public speaking skills,” said Steve Holt, Fridley High School’s YIG advisor. He added that the conference is entirely student run, with adults there only to help out if needed. 

Brittany Wilson hands Kale Holst and award.

YMCA YIG Director of Events, Brittany Wilson hands sophomore Kale Holst an award.

This year several students ran for leadership positions for next year’s conference and won their elections including ninth grade students Malik Bah who ran for speaker of the Humphrey House and Sophia Good who was elected president of Spear Senate and will preside over the Senate next year. Junior Yahira Barreto-Paredes won her race for secretary of state, which is one of only three statewide positions at YIG. Additionally, sophomore Kale Holst acted this year as chief justice of the Court of Appeals after being elected at last year's conference.

Congratulations to the students who ran and were elected at the YIG conference this year, and thank you to all the students who attended and proudly represented Fridley Public Schools!

Photos courtesy of Gysland Photography.

All Fridley Students who attended the YIG conference

All Fridley students at the YIG conference.