St. Mary's Excels at Youth in Government Conference

Last weekend, 41 St. Mary’s students traveled to Nashville to participate in the Youth in Government Conference (YIG) organized by the YMCA of Middle Tennessee Center for Civic Engagement, where Alumna Elise Addington Dugger ’04 serves as Senior Program Director. 

The conference allows Upper School students to have a hands-on experience in a mock state government; students can serve as senators, representatives, justices, lawyers, department commissioners, lobbyists, or press corps members. 

St. Mary’s students shined at this year’s conference, earning several accolades and leadership positions. 

Lily Karnes ’24 was elected Governor for the 2024 conference. Sponsor Dr. Dalton Lyon applauded Karnes, saying, “She engaged in good-ole-fashioned politicking, shined during the gubernatorial debate, advanced to a run-off, and then convinced a majority of 700 of her peers from across the state that she should lead them next year. This has been her dream since Middle School, and it is so exciting to see her achieve it.” 

Nine other St. Mary’s students will serve as officers next year: Reeya Sharma ’24 as second-term Head Lobbyist, Emily Larkins ’25 as Speaker of the Blue House, Naomi Betapudi ’25 as Floor Leader in the White Senate, Sarah Moon ’24 as Red Chief Engrossing Clerk, Sarah Mae Fields ’25 as Video Director in Press, Caroline Hunt ’24 as Supreme Court Solicitor General, Kate Wolfkill ’25 as Supreme Cort Associate Justice, Ashlynn Ostner ’25 as Supreme Court Attorney General, and Maya Iyengar ’25 as Supreme Court Clerk.
Charlie LaMountain ’23, Anna Douglas Piper ’23, Mila Szatkowski ’24, MC Hitt ’26, and Allan Golden ’26 were recognized as Outstanding Statespersons. Izzie Cochran ’25 won the Outstanding Press Award.

Three teams were awarded Best Bill: Seniors Charlie LaMountan and Angela Roberts for their bill to establish a TennGreen Building Standards Code; Anna Douglas Piper for her bill to automatically seal certain criminal records; and the ninth-grade team of Ivy Carls, Day Galbreath, and Krithika Vaidyanathan for their bill to require open captioning on all government broadcasts. 

Two of our three teams competing in the Supreme Court advanced to the final case, including the tenth-grade team of Kate Wolfkill and Ashlynn Ostner. The other tenth-grade team of Maya Iyengar and Natalie Smith was also awarded Outstanding Brief.

A select few were chosen to attend the Conference on National Affairs this summer, the highest honor awarded. Lily Karnes, Charlie LaMountain, and Anna Douglas Piper were chosen as the first slates or as alternates.

We are so proud of our St. Mary’s girls. We can’t wait to see them excel at next year’s conference. 

  • Upper School

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