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Pat Church wins Corner Office in Youth & Government program



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WMRHS junior Patrick Church of Lancaster, a three-season varsity athlete, was elected Youth Governor 2010 on Saturday as part of the Youth & Government program held at the State House in Concord. This is a first-ever achievement for the Regional High School, according to the delegationís advisor, Michael Pettriccione. (Photo by Edith Tucker) (click for larger version)
March 10, 2010
WHITEFIELD — In a first-ever honor for a White Mountains Regional High School student, 17-year-old Patrick Church, a junior of Lancaster, won election on Saturday as Youth Governor 2010. Pat was elected from among a field of six gubernatorial nominees at an all-day Pre-Legislative Election Day held at the State House in Concord.

The triumph was part of the New Hampshire Youth & Government program that this year involves 30 schools, 330 teen-aged delegates, and a cadre of political junkies who serve as school advisors/YMCA volunteers.

After all six student nominees had delivered campaign speeches in Representatives Hall, the delegates elected three finalists who campaigned hard to sit in the Corner Office.

All three then gave second campaign speeches, and the three-way race ended in an unprecedented tie vote.

A run-off then had to be held, and Pat emerged the winner.

"The hardest part was answering the questions from the floor," recalled Pat when asked in a Monday afternoon interview in the WMRHS library. "I had to come up with answers off the top of my head."

"I think it was the strongest pool of candidates for governor that I've ever seen," said Youth & Government advisor Michael Petriccione, who has served in this capacity for 29 years.

"Unite Church and State," was Pat's memorable campaign slogan.

His tight team of WMRHS supporters distributed campaign buttons and single-sheet flyers on Saturday morning as students arrived at the State House, and Pat shook a lot of hands.

The flyer highlighted Pat's experience as a leader, including four years in the Youth & Government program, starting as a page when a Lancaster School eighth-grader who was recruited by social studies teacher Derek Patterson.

He also listed his service on the N. H. Interscholastic Athletic Association's athletic council. This summer he was one of six student leaders who represented the Granite State at the National Federation of State High School (NFHS) Association's Student Leadership Conference in Indianapolis, Ind.

Pat is a three-sport varsity player, serving as starting goalie on the boys' soccer team, a substitute on the boys' basketball team, and starting catcher on the baseball team.

Hampshire politics.

Pat is a first-year student at the Mountain View Academy, a hospitality management program taught by Lisa Perras.

The Model Legislature — the final phase of the Youth & Government program — is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, when delegates will discuss and debate about 140 student-prepared bills.

Nine other WMRHS students will also participate: juniors Jake Barker, Ryan Cannon, Dan Johnson, and Peter Wilkinson, who will serve as House members; seniors Carl Ezyk and Kaitlyn Rines, both House members; junior Mikaela Houghton, House newspaper editor; junior Vanessa Kenison, Supreme Court lawyer; and senior Erica Patterson, chairperson for the House Health and Human Services Committee II.

Previously, two WMRHS students became finalists in the Youth & Government race to become Youth Governor: in 1984, Jeff Woodburn, then of Whitefield; and earlier this decade, Josh Bell of Lunenburg.

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