South Dakota High School Students Participate in the SDDP’S Annual YELL! Event 

PIERRE, S.D. – Students from across South Dakota participated in the the South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP)’s annual Young Elected Legislative Leaders (YELL!) event, held this past weekend (April 5-6) at the South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre.

“South Dakota is a better place when everyone is involved in the political process. It’s great to see these students take time out of their schedules to come to Pierre to learn about the political process,” said Sam Parkinson, SDDP Executive Director. “Decisions made by our legislators impact everyone, not just those over 18. These young people want to be involved in the process and show that by producing legislation that would have a positive impact on all South Dakotans.”

The YELL! Program is an annual event sponsored by the South Dakota Democratic Party, bringing young Democrats from across South Dakota together for a mock legislative session with Democratic legislators, SDDP staff, and other South Dakota Democratic leaders. This year the students heard from lobbyist Jenae Hansen, SDDP Vice Chair-elect Randy Seiler, Representatives Linda Duba and Jamie Smith, and former Gubernatorial candidate Billie Sutton.

Awards were given to individual students who distinguished themselves during the mock legislative session. The award winners, along with their hometowns and schools are as follows (a picture of the award winners is below):

Best Committee Member, Committee A: Braden Bury, Watertown, Watertown High School

Best Committee Member, Committee B: Justin Goetz, Selby, Selby High School

Best Committee Member, Committee C:  Addison Miller, Sioux Falls, Roosevelt High School

Best Advocate: Addison Miller, Sioux Falls, Roosevelt High School

Best Speaker: Kahden Mooney, Watertown, Watertown High School

Legislators’ Pick: Connor Hansen, Aberdeen, Roncalli High School

Students from around the state attended the event (a full group picture is below):

Aberdeen – Miles Pastian, Aberdeen Central High School; Connor Hansen, Roncalli High School.

Bradley – Sara Hemmingson, Webster Area High School.

Brandon – Sawyer Van Horn, Brandon Valley Middle School.

Eagle Butte – Oliver Miner, Cheyenne-Eagle Butte High School.

Fort Pierre – Kieran Steffan, Stanley County Middle School.

Lemmon – Sierra Sattler, Lemmon High School.

Parade – Alex Peterson, Timber Lake High School.

Selby – Justin Goetz, Selby High School.

Sioux Falls – Isabelle Thorson, Lincoln High School; Nolan Johnson, Roosevelt High School; Addison Miller, Roosevelt High School; Braden Madison, Roosevelt High School; Emma Forster, Edison Middle School; Jazlyn White, Lincoln High School; Daniel Bethke, Lincoln High School; Abigail Zenner, Lincoln High School; Mackenzie Bevers, Roosevelt High School; Engie Wong, Roosevelt High School; Madison Howard, Roosevelt High School; Madison Howard, Roosevelt High School; Gavyn Srstka, Roosevelt High School.

Spearfish – Tanner Walkins, Spearfish High School.

Watertown – Braden Bury, Watertown High School; Kahden Mooney, Watertown High School; Parker Reiffenberger, Watertown High School.

Yankton – Carter Demaray, Yankton High School; Kiah Holmstrom, Yankton High School; Lauren Gillis, Yankton High School.


Award winners from (Left to Right): Addison Miller (Roosevelt High School), Connor Hansen (Roncalli High School), Kahden Mooney (Watertown High School), Justin Goetz (Selby High School), Braden Bury (Watertown High School)
Group Picture of YELL! Students and Volunteers