State Senator Stoller Hosts Youth Advisory Council at SVCC


Earlier this month, roughly 50 high school students from 13 schools across the 37th Senate District gathered at Sauk Valley Community College to participate in State Senator Win Stoller’s (R-Germantown Hills) annual Youth Advisory Council.

“It’s interesting to me to see what they are concerned about and what they’re wanting to change in our state,” said Senator Stoller. “It’s fun to see these students’ energy and insight. It makes me feel like the future of Illinois is bright if we have students like these as our future leaders.”

Sen. Stoller’s Youth Advisory Council is a hands-on experience designed to teach local area students about public policy, state government, and leadership. Each high school within the 37th Senate District was able to nominate high school students that they believed showed an interest in government and public service.

“Learning about how the government works is important because the government will always affect you,” said Rock Falls High School Student Taylor Reyna. “You need to know how it works so that you are making the right choice when voting or even if you’re not making the right choice, you’re just informed about how your life is going to turn out from the decisions made by the people who do vote.”

In the morning students heard from successful community leaders, including former Dixon Mayor Li Arellano, MH Equipment CEO John Wieland, and local community activist Peggy Horstman. Students then broke off into groups, where they were asked to work together to develop ideas for possible new state legislation that each group would present to the full Youth Advisory Council.

“I really want to major in English, so I learned a lot from one of our speakers who worked in library,” said Rochelle Township High School Student Cale Workman. “There is really a good tunnel effect from her librarian career and local government.”

Sen. Stoller spent time during the group discussion with each small group, helping students with their proposals and offering advice on how they could advocate for their issue. When the students presented their ideas, Sen. Stoller helped spur along further debate by asking the groups questions about their legislation.

“I would definitely recommend that other high school students participate in something like this,” said Dunlap High School Student Nithila Thiagu. “I thought meeting everyone was super fun, and I learned a lot of things for just this one day that I didn’t know about last week, so I’m glad I signed up.”

The students voted to choose one of the proposals to take up in a mock committee hearing at their next meeting, which will be held in the spring at the State Capitol.

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