Obama YaG Night Is Another Resounding Success


Isaac Degenholtz, Website Director

Sunday, September 8th. Throughout the afternoon off-and-on rain scared the hosts of the Youth and Government Club’s 2nd annual YaG Night. But as the guests started arriving, these fears were quickly dashed away; Obama Youth and Government’s 2nd annual YaG celebration was a great success. 

YaG Night is in part a fundraiser to help cover the costs of buses, hotel rooms, and registration fees the club’s model convention in Harrisburg, which you can read about here. The cost for the whole program is estimated at $10,000 per year. Every dollar helps get us closer to being able to make the trip! The club will continue to hold more fundraisers throughout the year and still excepts donations to help cover the costs. 

This year, Pam Harbin, Bethany Hallam, Tom Lisi, Devon Taliaferro, and Bobby Wilson came to talk to YaG members and parents. First, our guests gave short introductions: Pam Harbin is running for School Board in District Four, Bethany Hallam is running for an at-large seat in the Allegheny County Council, Tom Lisi, an economic development reporter for PublicSource, Devon Taliaferro is running for School Board in District Two, and Bobby Wilson is running for City Council in District One. After introductions, Isaac Degenholtz, the Obama YaG Delegation Leader, asked questions written by members of the club to the panel. The questions varied from significant goals each guest wants to accomplish to how students can get involved in politics. The event also featured a serious discussion on charter schools and their role in education. Finally, the guests gave some brief closing remarks. Although all of our guests represent different constituencies, they all shared an underlying message: we should always work to put pressure on our elected officials to truly represent us and fight for what is important to their constituents. Mr. Lisi specifically stressed this point, since, as a member of the press, part of his job is to report on what our representatives say versus what they do. This idea of holding people responsible for their words was also echoed by Pam Harbin, who posted a quote from a student at the event on her Facebook: “We’ve heard those answers before. What are you going to actually DO to fix the issues that keep us from thriving?”

The panelists also reinforced to the Obama students that it is never too young to get involved in politics. A simple way to do this, they said, is to register to vote. They also recommended joining local campaigns and helping knock doors.

The whole Youth and Government Club is very thankful for everyone who came! Overall, YaG Night was a successful evening and is a good start for the 2019-2020 year! 

Interested in donating to Obama YaG?  Contact Isaac Degenholtz ([email protected]) or Caleb Nesbit ([email protected]). 

Missed YaG Night, but still, want to join YaG? Contact Isaac Degenholtz ([email protected]) or Caleb Nesbit ([email protected]).