State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) brought together dozens of high school students from across the 38th Senate District on Nov. 30 to participate in her annual Youth Advisory Council, an opportunity for students to learn about state government and public policy.
"This is the fourth year that I have hosted a Youth Advisory Council for area high school students. With the ongoing pandemic, we had to do it a little differently this year," Rezin said in a news release from her office. "This yearly event is one of my favorite experiences, so I am very pleased that we were able to come up with a way to provide this opportunity to our students."
Because of COVID-19 restrictions and to ensure the safety of participating students, Rezin hosted the event virtually. Students from Streator, Ottawa, La Salle-Peru, Newark,Putnam County, Gardner-South Wilmington, Wilmington, Coal City, Plano, Morris andSt. Bede Academy high schools participated. Students were selected based on recommendations made by school administrators and educators.
When Alex Duffy of Morris High School was asked why he thought it was important for high school students to learn about and get involved with government, he said, "It's important for our youth to get involved because now more than ever do we need young blood within our political process to keep it alive."
As part of the event, Rezin invited guest speakers to talk with the students, including Cody Grandadam, owner and president of Promier Products, and Amanda Vinicky, correspondent and segment host with the TV station WTTW. Rezin also spoke about her experience as a state legislator.
"My favorite speaker was Amanda Vinicky," said Drew Kalsto from La Salle-Peru High School. "I loved her honesty and integrity for giving the public the real information and addressing the concerns that we have had with the media in the past four years. It was very interesting to hear her perspective."
In the past, the fall discussion would be the basis for the spring meeting when Rezin would bring students to the Statehouse in Springfield. At the Statehouse, students would continue their discussion about the legislative process, tour the Capitol and have the opportunity to witness state government in action.