history-photo“Democracy must be learned by each generation.”  These few words were so important to Clement A. (Pete) Duran, an Albany New York YMCA Boys’ Work Secretary, that in 1936 in New York State, he initiated the first Youth and Government Program. After meeting Duran at a national YMCA conference and hearing of the Youth and Government work being carried on in New York, T. Douglas Monahan, then on the staff of the Illinois State YMCA invited Duran to Illinois to meet with YMCA personnel who were becoming very excited about the possibility of Youth and Government in Illinois.

Thus, in early 1949, Pete Duran, known as “the Colonel” to many, came to Illinois at Monahan’s request. In preparation for Duran’s visit, Monahan had already put into place the leadership relationship which is at the heart of the YMCA movement — that being the partnership between the YMCA professional and dedicated laymen. Monahan the Y professional, sought Dr. Frank Endicott, Professor of Education and Director of Placement at Northwestern University to become the first Chair of the Youth and Government Program.

And thus, it was these two, Douglas Monahan and Dr. Frank Endicott who met with Colonel Duran and set Illinois YMCA Youth and Government into motion. Both men relate, however, that it was actually the dedication and cooperation of one other person who allowed their dream to become reality. Illinois Governor Adalai Stevenson proved to be their greatest ally and advocate. When Monahan and Endicott met with Stevenson in Springfield with their rather revolutionary proposal of teens taking over the state Capitol, they were overwhelmed with the support and assistance offered by the Governor. Stevenson in turn rallied all of the support needed from other state officials to put the program in place, and the first Assembly was held on April 24-25 1950 in Springfield. As a result, Youth and Government has enjoyed the support of every Illinois Governor since that time.

Former Governors

Year Governor YMCA High School
1950 Bill Turner Joliet Joliet Township
1951 Gene Keith Peoria Manual
1952 Tom Baldaccinni Lincoln-Belmont Lane Technical
1953 Vern Johnson Streator Streator
1954 Don Carter Chicago [N/A]
1955 Richard Heyder [N/A] Frankfort Community
1956 Phillip Quigley Skokie [N/A]
1957 Robert Hornady Beverly Morgan Park High School
1958 James Buch Edwardsville Edwardsville
1959 John Dailey Elmhurst York
1960 Ken Heyl Elmhurst York
1961 Warren Nash Granite City [N/A]
1962 Clifton Maclin Hyde Park Hyde Park High School
1963 Kemp James McLaughlin Lincoln-Belmont [N/A]
1964 John Epperheimer [N/A] Harrisburg
1965 Michael Walker S. Chicago [N/A]
1966 Thomas Naylor Freeport Freeport
1967 Richard Langdon Jackson County Carbondale
1968 Kenneth Kraft Elmhurst [N/A]
1969 Wayne Kost Southwest Carl Sandburg
1970 Steve Eckert Danville Danville
1971 Greg Zito Proviso Proviso West
1972 Steve Marsh Southwest Eisenhower
1973 Paul Matthews Jackson County Carbondale
1974 Daniel J. Lesser Evanston Evanston Township
1975 Keith Anderson Joliet Plainfield
1976 James Winkler Naperville Naperville Central
1977 Michael Pizzuto Berwyn-Cicero Morton East
1978 Michael Cheerva Southwest Stagg
1979 Dennis Favaro Kankakee Bradley-Bourbonnais
1980 Willliam Danielczyk Elmhurst York
1981 James Rouhandeh Jackson County Carbondale
1982 Peggy Pettit Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
1983 Jeff Soukup Elmhurst Lake Park
1984 Arthur Sims Southwest Luther South
1985 David Kemp Elmhurst Lake Park
1986 Thomas Rooney McGaw Evanston Township
1987 Matthew DeLeon McGaw Evanston Township
1988 Abigail Hannis Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
1989 David Garnett Naperville Naperville North
1990 Dawn Campbell Knox County Galesburg
1991 Michael Kirkwood Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
1992 Geno Valente Mt. Vernon Sesser-Valier
1993 Ben Hall Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
1994 Matthew Wolfe Mt. Vernon Sesser-Valier
1995 Joe Sterbis Elmhurst Lake Park
1996 James “Ike” Minton Mt. Vernon DuQuoin
1997 Greg Hollmann Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
1998 Eamon Kelly McGaw Evanston
1999 Steve Daglas Southwest Stagg
2000 Bill Dimitropolis Chicagoland Stagg
2001 Guillermo Coronado Elmhurst Addison Trail
2002 Tarun Patel Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2003 Justin Cajindos Network Stagg
2004 Dustin Herr Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
2005 Colin Clark Mt. Vernon Mt. Vernon
2006 David Simnick Heritage Naperville North
2007 Sean Tompkins Heritage Naperville Central
2008 Courtney Charleston Heritage Neuqua Valley
2009 David Pileski Elmhurst Lake Park
2010 Janesh Rahlan Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2011 Dan Cronin Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2012 Robert Lampros BR Ryall Wheaton Warrenville South
2013 Kevin Wei Heritage Neuqua Valley
2014 Isaiah Booker Heritage Naperville North
2015 Daniel Park Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2016 Rushil Shukla Heritage Waubonsie Valley

Former Chief Justices

Year Chief Justice YMCA High School
1975 Rory Smith Hyde Park Kenwood Academy
1976 Aaron Brower Evanston Evanston
1977 Harry Redweik Southwest Stagg
1978 Joyce Guzik Southwest Stagg
1979 Patty Moncada Southwest Morgan Park Academy
1980 Julie Eisenmann Evanston Evanston Township
1981 Donna Craft Lombard Willowbrook
1982 Tamra Thompson Danville Catlin
1983 Kathleen Connon Elmhurst York
1984 Andy Froberg Naperville Naperville North
1985 Karl Kosche Southwest Stagg
1986 Paul Timm Southwest Stagg
1987 Julie Mulderink Southwest Stagg
1988 Anil Keswani Elmhurst Lake Park
1989 Jill Mulderink Southwest Stagg
1990 Beth Kuszynski Southwest Stagg
1991 Andrea Koutoulogenis Southwest Stagg
1992 Roxana Mehta Southwest Stagg
1993 Adam Jackanicz Mt. Vernon West Frankfort
1994 Brandy Glasser Mt. Vernon Murphysboro
1995 Todd Kolb Southwest Stagg
1996 Anna King Mt. Vernon Murphysboro
1997 Ben Johnson Edwardsville Edwardsville
1998 Justin Lowell-Bellew McGaw Evanston
1999 Emily Nash McGaw Evanston
2000 Matt Schuh Mt. Vernon Murphysboro
2001 Alex Okrent McGaw Evanston
2002 Kevin Becker Springfield Williamsville
2003 Erin Wilson Mt. Vernon Murphysboro
2004 Kathleen Coverick Network Stagg
2005 Traci Gillig Elmhurst Lake Park
2006 Margaret Gibson Heritage Neuqua Valley
2007 Tony Catalano Network Carl Sandburg
2008 Bryan Medema Elmhurst Lake Park
2009 Megan Godette Network Andrew
2010 Dan Cronin Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2011 Joey Kim Heritage Neuqua Valley
2012 Kaveri Sharma Heritage Neuqua Valley
2013 Jasmine LeeChuy Heritage Neuqua Valley
2014 Kayla Arroyave Heritage Waubonsie Valley
2015 Ashley Maras Heritage Neuqua Valley
2016 Spencer Peck Gateway YMCA [N/A]