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.

Youth and Government is a nationwide program, in about 40 states; nearly 25,000 students take part in state Youth and Government conferences across the country (which includes Model State Government programs and Model United Nations conferences). In Illinois we have 50 delegations that come to Springfield for our General Assembly each year, with approximately 1000 students and over 250 adult volunteers.

Former Youth Governors

1950  Bill Turner, (Joliet) Joliet Township

1951  Gene Keith, (Peoria) Manual

1952  Tom Baldaccini, (Lincoln-Belmont) Lane Tech.

1953  Vern Johnson, (Streator) Streator

1954  Don Carter, Chicago

1955  Dick Heyder, Frankfort Comm.

1956  Phillip Quigley, Skokie

1957  Robert Hornaday, (Beverly) Morgan Park

1958  James Buch, (Edwardsville) Edwardsville

1959  John Dailey, (Elmhurst) York

1960  Ken Heyl, (Elmhurst) York

1961  Warren Nash, Granite City

1962  Clifton C. Maclin, (Hyde Park) Hyde Park

1963  Kemp James McLaughlin, Lincoln-Belmont

1964  John Epperheimer, Harrisburg

1965  Michael Walker, South Chicago

1966  Thomas Naylor, (Freeport) Freeport

1967  Richard Langdon, (Jackson Co.) Carbondale

1968  Kenneth Kraft, Elmhurst

1969  Wayne Kost, (Southwest) Carl Sandburg

1970  Steve Eckert, (Danville) Danville

1971  Greg Zito, (Proviso) Proviso West

1972  Steven Gary Marsh, (Southwest) Eisenhower

1973  Paul Matthews, (Jackson Co.) Carbondale

1974  Dan Lesser, (McGaw) Evanston Township

1975  Keith Anderson, (Joliet) Plainfield

1976  Jim Winkler, (Naperville) Naperville Central

1977  Michael Pizzuto, (Berwyn-Cicero) Morton East

1978  Mike Cheerva, (Southwest) Stagg

1979  Dennis Favaro, (Kankakee) BBCHS

1980  Bill Danielczyk, (Elmhurst) York

1981  James Rouhandeh, (Jackson Co.) Carbondale

1982  Peggy Pettit Rubenzer, (Mt. Vernon) Mt. Vernon

1983  Jeff Soukop, (Elmhurst) Lake Park

1984  Art Sims, (Southwest) Luther South

1985  David Kemp, (Elmhurst) Lake Park

1986  Tom Rooney, (McGaw) Evanston

1987  Matthew B. DeLeon, (McGaw) Evanston

1988  Abigail Hannis Urban, (Mt. Vernon) Mt. Vernon

1989  David E. Garnett, (N’ville) Naperville North

1990  Dawn Campbell D’Orazio, (Knox Co.) Galesburg

1991  Michael Kirkwood, (Mt. Vernon) Mt. Vernon

1992  Geno Valente, (Mt. Vernon) Sesser-Valier

1993  Ben Hall, (Mt. Vernon) Mt. Vernon

1994  Matt Wolfe, (Mt. Vernon) Sesser-Valier

1995  Joseph Sterbis, (Elmhurst) Lake Park

1996  Ike Minton, (Mt. Vernon) DuQuoin

1997  Greg Hollmann, (Mt. Vernon) Mt. Vernon

1998  Eamon Kelly, (McGaw) Evanston Township

1999  Steve Daglas, (Southwest) Stagg

2000  Bill Dimitropoulos, (Southwest) 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  Cortney 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, (B.R. Ryall) Wheaton Warrenville South

2013  Kevin Wei, Neuqua Valley

2014  Isaiah Booker, Naperville North

2015  Daniel Park, Waubonsie Valley

2016  Rushil Shukla, Waubonsie Valley

2017  Archit Dhar, Neuqua Valley

2018  Trisha Prabhu, Neuqua Valley

2019  Logan Graham, Wheaton Warrenville South

2020 Matthew Thery, Sesser-Valier

Former Youth Chief Justices

1976          Aaron Brower, (McGaw) Evanston Township

1977          Harry Reweik, (Southwest) Stagg

1978          Joyce Ann Guzik,(Southwest) Stagg

1979          Patricia Moncada,(Southwest) Morgan Park Academy

1980          Julie Eisenmann, (McGaw) Evanston Township

1981          Donna Craft Cain, (Lombard) Willowbrook

1982          Tamra ThompsonToussaint, (Danville) Catlin

1983          Kathleen Connon, (Elmhurst) York Comm.

1984          Andrew Froberg, (Naperville) Naperville North

1985          Karl Kosche, (Southwest) Stagg

1986          Paul Timm, (Southwest) Stagg

1987          Julie Mulderink Mantooth, (Southwest) Stagg

1988          Anil N. Keswani, (Elmhurst) Lake Park

1989          Jill Vorobiev, (Southwest) Stagg

1990          Beth Kuszynski, (Southwest) Stagg

1991          Andrea Koutoulogenis, (Southwest) Stagg

1992          Roxana Mehta Dubash, (Southwest) Stagg

1993          Adam Jackanicz, (Mt. Vernon) Frankfort Comm.

1994          Brandy L. Glasser, (Mt. Vernon) Murphysboro

1995          Todd Kolb, (Southwest) Stagg

1996          Anna King Green, (Mt. Vernon) Murphysboro

1997          Ben Johnson, (Edwardsville) Edwardsville

1998          Justin Lowell-Bellew, (McGaw) Evanston Township

1999          Emily Nash, (McGaw) Evanston Township

2000          Matt Schuh, (Mt. Vernon) Murphysboro

2001          Alex Okrent, (McGaw) Evanston Township

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, Neuqua Valley

2014          Kayla Arroyave, Waubonsie Valley

2015          Ashley Maras, Neuqua Valley

2016          Spencer Peck, Gateway Region YMCA

2017          Zach Safer, Waubonsie Valley

2018          Rekha Iyer, Neuqua Valley

2019          Breanna Goyea, Gateway Region YMCA

2020          Christopher Chung, Waubonsie Valley