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The Daily Delegate

Conference End

Authors: Madi Venturino & Lila Lindeen

Santa Fe, NM- With the last day of the conference upon delegates, we felt it was crucial to interview different students from various schools, branches, and positions. All of them had different things to say about their experiences at YAG and things they would change, but all delegates shared positive memories and moments across these last three days.

Senate Gathering, 4-15-24

Many bills were presented in committee, and throughout the conference, some were able to be presented in the Senate.

Tristan Dons, a delegate in the legislative branch, presented Senate Bill 108. “One of my bills is on splitting APS into two districts to refocus the funds, the point of splitting it is, as we know New Mexico Education isn’t that great and APS is the largest school district in the state so splitting it and dividing the management and adding to it will allow the districts to refocus their time and effort to different parts of schools.” This bill is a great representation of student advocacy in the form of government which is the whole mission Tristan Dons, 4-16-24

of YAG.

Another passionate project that was presented in the form of legislation by a student at Santa Fe High was the F.R.A.T.S. bill. “My bill was about introducing public phones into schools so that students wouldn’t have to rely on mobile phones for communication,” said Paige Tomkins.

Paige Tomkins, SFH, Senate Chambers, 4-16-24

Throughout these three long days, delegates were able to make unique and fond memories with each other and obtain a sense of pride in their work.

 “It was great! I loved making the video and I love the people” said Solei Rodriguez, a 10th grader at Rio Rancho High when asked about her experience in Media. “I was very productive I got a bunch of pictures and interviews with everyone…there’s not really any other branch I wanna be in, I like my job”

Solei Rodriguez, Rio Rancho High, Media Room, 4-14-24

We also asked Bella Lobaina, another member of Media, about her experience. “It was good I think, it was a little stressful because there were a lot of inexperienced people this year, but it was fun… I really like media, especially the social media branch.”

One Senate delegate in his first year of YAG, Dhruv Mody, describes his most memorable memory of the YAG 2024 conference. When asked what has been the most memorable moment for him he responded, “Probably five minutes ago when my bill passed in the Senate.” A memory many delegates will walk away with.

While everyone enjoyed the conference to the fullest and had many good experiences, it is important to take note of the drowsiness that hit many of our delegates on the last day. The 2024 Land Commissioner, Jasmine McKinney stated she’s “super excited but [she’s] super tired, it’s been a long, great conference.” The exhaustion stems from the pride that all delegates have taken in the amount of work they’ve exerted over the last three days and, as legislative delegate Paige Tomkins puts it, “I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed…” as many of our delegates are.

YAG this year wasn’t just fun and games, many delegates reported different challenges they faced. Some mentioned how it helped them grow, but all of them mentioned how they wished they had more time with their peers. 

Many delegates of the Press reported feeling a tad stressed with all the work they had to cram in these last three days. 

“Honest answer, a little stressed because there’s a lot of deadlines to be met, but I’m super excited for everyone to come see the final production of what Media has produced.” Said Media Director, Alecia Gauna, when asked about her last day. She also included her experiences as an officer, “Being an officer, it was, a lot different than I expected it to be. It taught me a lot and it was really cool to just take a step back and watch others really shine and do things that they’re passionate about.”

One thing we all had in common was attempting to come out of our shell. Delegates from all over have reported feeling intimidated and shy, whether it was presenting a bill or just interacting with their peers. Many people experienced the all out benefits that YAG has to offer this conference across the four branches. 

“It taught me a lot and it was really cool to just take a step back and watch others really shine and do things that they’re passionate about,” says Alecia Gauna. 

“I’ve gained more confidence in public speaking. At first, I was nervous to really speak at all but now I’m more confident and I know more of what’s happening…,” says delegate Paige Tomkins who is in her first year of YAG. 

We asked Dhruv Mody, a delegate in the Legislature, and he told us how it was difficult for him at first. The pressure of presenting and commenting on other bills, but he also told us how it became an exciting and memorable moment for him.

“It’s been a great experience, I’ve had a great time at the capitol speaking on other bills… It was a pretty fun journey and I’m pretty excited we’re actually moving, we just presented our bill and everything’s kinda running a little slow so the last day is kinda exciting.”

Considering the seniors and officers who are leaving this year, there are mixed feelings that taint the joy they feel at the conference. “I’m going to miss the people, going to miss the program in general and staying actively involved,” says Media Director Alecia Gauna who’s in her senior year at Moriarty. These sentiments were shared similarly by this year’s governor, Verity Gray. “I think I’m going to miss the people, I wish the conference was longer. Three days is not enough to talk to everyone I wanna meet,” says Gray after highlighting how she feels this conference finished strong and with immense success. 

If these feelings of nostalgia and craving the positive conference vibes, listen to Jasmine McKinney when she says “Keep doing it! Keep pushing forward and stay passionate!” There are extensive ways to stay involved in the YAG program and expand your interests even in the off-season. The annual CONA conference, Changemaker’s Summits, and many other opportunities can keep the YAG spirit with you. And, regardless of if you're graduating, come back! Verity Gray and Jasmine McKinney are both elated to come back as alumni to continue living in the moment with New Mexico’s Youth and Government.

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