Saugerties students get an insider’s view of Albany

Standing left to right: Connie Catalinatto, Scholarship Committee chairperson, Annie Armstrong, Sally Colclough, Scholarship Committee chairperson, Maggie Pederson

Standing left to right: Connie Catalinatto, Scholarship Committee chairperson, Annie Armstrong, Sally Colclough, Scholarship Committee chairperson, Maggie Pederson

Saugerties High School sophomore Annie Armstrong and senior Margaret Pederson were selected by the Saugerties chapter of the League of Women Voters to attend the 50th annual Students Inside Albany program. The conference takes place from May 17–20. It brings approximately 60 students from across the state to Albany to get a first-hand education about their state government. It is designed to increase high school students’ awareness of their responsibilities in representative government and to provide information about the tools which can be used in meeting those responsibilities.

This three-day conference allows students to join their peers in a series of interactive learning experiences designed to inform them about how state government works. Annie and Margaret will participate in a series of lectures on topics such as the state budget process, the role of lobbyists in the legislative process, citizen rights to access government information, the role of media in politics and the move to reform state government. They will be able to ask questions on each issue.

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While in Albany, students will shadow their senator and assembly member for an afternoon standing session on the Chamber floor. The opportunity to tour the state’s Capitol and learn about other government functions throughout Albany is also part of the trip.

Annie is the daughter of Keith and Lori Armstrong. Maggie is the daughter of James and Michelle Pederson. Each has a history of excellent academic work and service to the school and community at large.

Annie volunteers teaching younger children ballet, is a teaching assistant for a first grade religion class at her church and has led her peers in a confirmation retreat. She also serves her school as a member of Student Council, the choir and the cross country team. As a member of the Key Club, Annie was involved in funding and sending backpacks full of nutritional food home with underprivileged children who might not otherwise have much to eat on the weekends. She has also represented Saugerties High School in the Emerging Leaders conference at Marist College. This busy and multi-faceted teen wants to find a career in which she can help other people.

Maggie is also a young woman who knows and has experienced serving others through her actions. She considers serving as “a meaningful part of life,” and says that “by helping others [she is] helping herself to learn and grow.”

Another young athlete, Maggie played hockey for seven years and is now a coach for youth ice hockey. She has played lacrosse since the seventh grade and tennis since the ninth, serving as captain of both teams in her junior and senior years. In addition to serving her school, Maggie serves others through Key Club. Last summer, she was chosen to attend the National Key Club Convention in California where she saw “the power of service in action.” During the summer months, Maggie works at both an optometrist’s office and as the assistant to the proprietor of a bed and breakfast.

The Saugerties chapter of the League of Women Voters exists to promote non-partisan political knowledge and action for the benefit of citizens in its home community. Its members are proud that the young women chosen for Students Inside Albany personify the qualities which are needed in future members of the organization.