HELENA – Hundreds of high school students from around the state converged on the Capitol this week as part of the YMCA’s Youth and Government program.
Students had the chance to act as senators and vote on mock bills in the real Senate Chamber.
The program is based on the rules, procedures and traditions of the real Montana legislature and Supreme Court.
Students prepared the bills themselves on timely topics such as napping during study hall and recognition of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression in school.
Other students wrote court briefings and prepared legal arguments to present before Montana Supreme Court justices.
Students also acted as reporters, lobbyists and cabinet members.
Jacob Oppelt, an 18 year old from Gardiner, Mont., was elected as the Youth Governor for the Montana Youth and Government program.
“It’s awesome to see kids learning about government. It’s really important to understand on a state level how things are run,” Oppelt said. “Sometimes people just study federal [government] and it will lead to misunderstanding about how things happen in the states. It’s really good to see kids having fun, too.”
In all, 260 high school students participated in the event which wrapped up this afternoon.