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Students try on government roles

Campaign buttons included one for Cooper Edmunds, who was elected governor.
Campaign buttons included one for Cooper Edmunds, who was elected governor.

The YMCA of the Triangle hosted the Youth Legislature Conference Feb. 9-12, with about 1,000 students attending from across the state, learning how state government works while serving as legislators, reporters, lobbyists or appellate attorneys. Students drafted bills, argued court cases and worked in committees. The highlight of the event was the election of officers and legislators. Students ran for political office from cabinet posts to chief justices and governor.

Cooper Edmunds, a junior at North Raleigh Christian Academy, was elected governor. His brother Chase Edmunds was elected governor four years ago when he attended the conference. Besides his passion for government, Cooper has devoted much of his time to his business 20/20 Programming and community service. He has done mission work in India, China and the United States. He has developed apps for the YMCA, NRCA and Baptist Ministries.

Cooper ran his campaign on a platform of “growth and change.” He previously held the offices of speaker of the House and speaker of the forum.

The programs were held at the Legislative Office Building, Raleigh Convention Center, Sheraton, Marriott and the Wake County Court House. Students prepared by participating in N.C. YMCA Youth & Government programs through their high schools or local YMCAs.

On Saturday, the N.C. YMCA Youth & Government representatives hosted an information breakfast for school administrators, teachers and parents to learn more about joining or starting a Youth and Government club at their school.