Three GHS students exercise their political chops in Senator Skoufis’ youth council

Goshen. The high schoolers were among a small group of students chosen earlier this fall.

Goshen /
| 30 Nov 2023 | 11:31

Three politically driven Goshen High School students were selected to join the Fall 2023 cohort of Senator James Skoufis’s Youth Advisory Council — and have been soaking up every bit of the opportunity so far.

Sophomore Angelina Celio, junior Katie Palau, and senior Michael Lombardi joined the small group of passionate and curious students between the ages of 14 and 21 who were selected for the Council earlier this fall.

As members of the student-led group, they have the opportunity to discuss local and statewide issues and priorities among themselves, as well as meet with Senator Skoufis and other state and local officials.

“The Youth Advisory Council is a wonderful way our students can be part of a volunteer-based advocacy body composed of civically minded high school and college students,” said GHS Principal Nick Pantaleone.

“We are excited that our kids will participate in numerous conversations with Senator Skoufis, local and state officials, and other members of state government,” he said. “They are learning about legislative and political processes, and voicing their opinions about how best to represent their constituency.”

Although each student has a different motivation for joining the Council, they are all embracing the advantages of immersing themselves in the experience.

Lombardi said he joined the Council because he wanted to get involved and loves serving his community.

“I really wanted to learn how a community runs from a youth perspective,” the senior said. “It’s a really good experience, being involved in the Council and learning how everything in government is run.”

Although discussing current events and issues with the senator is one draw for the program, there are also other benefits, including the opportunity for students to forge relationships with other young adults inspired to take action in government.

“It’s pretty cool that I could meet other students who share the same interests as I do,” said Celio. The sophomore said the experience also benefits students looking to pursue law- and government-related careers in the future, like she is. Celio hopes to study law in college and is enjoying the chance to learn more about how the U.S. government works.

“In some meetings we will learn how a bill is created, or we will get into groups and discuss different problems and make hypothetical solutions for those problems,” she said.

Like her peers, Palau’s motivation to join the Council also comes from a desire for increased awareness and involvement in local and state government.

The knowledge gained from first-hand experience in government has been invaluable so far, she said. The junior believes it’s important for young people to pay attention to what’s happening politically.

“I really like being able to do things I know can influence change in any way, especially outside of school,” said Palau. “Being able to have connections with people like the senator, anyone who works in that field, is so important to connect us with the things that are happening right now.”