Governing students

Members of the Youth and Government group at Stevens High School shared their experience of governing with Claremont school board. Alisha Webster, Riley Craig and Prescott Herzog with teacher Jill Chastenay.

CLAREMONT—Among the many interesting reports given at the Claremont school board meeting, the members of the Youth and Government group told the board about their practice legislative session. Alisha Webster, Riley Craig and Prescott Herzog and teacher Jill Chastenay reported on the YMCA Youth & Government national program, in which thousands of teens nationwide participate in state-organized, model-government programs.

Chastenay said, “We had an awesome year, starting with a membership of 30 students, 27 of whom went on the overnight trip (we lost two to DC and another to sports). We had 26 bills written and submitted to student government.  We have a lot of kids who are talking about getting into our leadership positions next year. Riley here had 2 bills that got read on the floor (and were killed by the governor.)

Riley Craig: “Even though both my bills got vetoed, I got to learn what was wrong with them so I can resubmit them next year.”

Alicia Websters said because she was able to sit in and take a bunch of notes, next year it will be a lot easier. Herzog said he wrote four bills, all four of which went to committee; two went to the Senate, and one was vetoed by the governor.

School board members who have been lobbying the state legislature for improvements in school funding perked up their ears.

“We need you for school funding,” said Carolyn Towle.

“When I was there the gallery was full of Berlin students,” said Frank Sprague. “People will listen to us, but they really listen to kids.”

Herzog shared the student representative’s report: Among other events, Fox News will be broadcasting a town hall with presidential candidate Peter Buttegeig at Stevens High School Sunday.

Acting Superintendent Cory LeClair announced that this would be her last Claremont school board meeting before she leaves to take the superintendent job at Plainfield/Cornish schools. “I just wanted to say thank you,” she told the board, “for your time for supporting students, for supporting me. I know I’m in this community and I’ll end up crossing paths with people. I appreciated my time here and I will miss my SAU family for sure.”  


In board members reports, Frank Sprague and Carolyn Towle said they had met with a group of outgoing seniors and heard from them about their experiences at Stevens and changes they’d like to see. They both appreciated hearing from the students. The students’ comments were recorded and will be transcribed so other school board members can read them.  

For the superintendent’s report, LeClair noted there are 21 days of school left this year. “Schools at all levels have lots of things planned in the next few weeks. It’s a fun time of year, the schools are very alive. I encourage you to pay attention to what your students are bringing home and participate when you can.” 

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