In addition to securing the top leadership role for the third consecutive year, William Floyd students were elected to six other state elected positions.

The William Floyd High School Youth and  Government program continued its tradition of success and dominance at the 88th annual New York State YMCA Youth and Government conference held March 22-24 in the state’s legislative chambers in Albany. This was the largest conference in the program’s history with 643 students participating from across New York State. William Floyd students continued to outshine their peers by garnering election to seven of the nine elected state leadership positions including the governorship, as well as securing numerous awards.


William Floyd High School senior Nikolas DelVecchio presided over this year’s conference as youth governor. Nikolas, who was elected governor at last year’s conference, passes the torch to Olivia Phillips, who will lead the 2025 conference as governor.


In addition to securing the top leadership role for the third consecutive year, William Floyd students were elected to six other state elected positions. Those include: Mathew Reis, lieutenant governor; Aisha Barrie, Senate Pro-Tempore, Senate Liberty; Hiba Farooq, speaker, Assembly Freedom; Kaitlyn Corn, deputy speaker, Assembly Liberty; Alice Chen, attorney general; and Kayla Bundick, public defender.


Throughout the weekend, students debated original legislation and argued appellate cases with their peers in the actual governmental chambers. In addition to having the top six ranked bills that were heard, William Floyd students Mackenzie Hackett and Hailey Hamilton garnered the Best Brief award, and, Berline Francois won the Best Attorney award in the judicial branch.


In the legislative chambers, Nia Alicea, Hiba Farooq and Rachel Chen (Assembly Freedom), and Victoria Basharina, Giselle Canales and Joyce Chen (Senate Freedom) won Best Bill awards, respectively. Madison Lockwood (Senate Freedom) won the Best Debater award.


Please note that due to the number of students involved, each legislative branch of government has two versions – example: Assembly Liberty, Assembly Freedom, Senate Liberty and Senate Freedom.


Additionally, students who were among the best at the state conference were selected to represent New York at the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (CONA), a 10-day, nationwide summer conference held in Black Mountain, North Carolina, which primarily focuses on gaining awareness of issues of national concerns, as well as increasing an understanding of the federal government and its relation to state, national and international affairs. Students will write and debate federal proposals with their peers from across the nation. Students selected for this prestigious honor include: Olivia Phillips, Mathew Reis, Alice Chen, Aisha Barrie, Joshua Schultzer and Renae-Marie Kelly. Alternates to the conference are: Antonio Cortes, Hiba Farooq, Jason Alexopoulos, Madison Lockwood, Mars Smothergill and Sarah Foley.


Robert Feeney, who has served as the program’s advisor since 1985, has had the opportunity to mentor generations of students with an interest in government and public policy. Under his guidance, dozens of former students have achieved success in public policy, government and law, with many serving prominent roles in the public sector. He is also a member of the YMCA Youth & Government Hall of Fame. This year, Mr. Feeney is joined by Alyssa Tepper as the co-advisor. Both Mr. Feeney and Ms. Tepper are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the William Floyd Youth and Government students, who worked very hard since September preparing for the conference.


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