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Meet the 2024-2025 Youth & Government Governor Candidates

By Sammey Malik

Simon Hanford 
With the ultimate goal of enhancing the YAG experience for all delegates, Simon Hanford wants your vote to make him your youth governor for the 33rd YAG conference next year. Hanford attends New Bern High School and is an avid varsity swim, lacrosse, and cross-country team member. His experience as a volunteer firefighter gives him a particular focus on bettering his community. He aims to translate this value to the YAG conference by bringing energy to the event. Hanford would do this by getting a live band to the gala.

By Kate Krouse

Drew Dimeglio
Raleigh Native Drew Dimeglio cares deeply about what the YAG Program offers. From North Raleigh Christian Academy (NRCA), Dimeglio fell in love with YAG after participating for the first time in his freshman year. Dimeglio feels it’s time to give back to YAG if elected youth governor. Dimeglio aspires to expand YAG beyond being just a weekend event and hopes to garner increased backing from the state and locals to alleviate the responsibilities of the delegates. Dimeglio has served as an NC House of Representatives Page and Governors Page and dreams of bringing awareness to the growth and passion behind NC YAG. 

By Eloise Jones

Annika Lilja
Annika Lilja is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is a junior at Salem Academy in Winston-Salem. This is Lilja's second year in YAG after she founded the Salem Academy delegation last year. Lilja reveals her leadership skills in school as a treasurer for the junior class and a dual enrollment student. Last year, she received the Erica Wolfe Scholarship for the best first-year delegate who exemplified leadership. She runs a website outside of school to advocate for youth civil engagement. This website was published in 2020 and has been a hit ever since! She has an internship with a United States Representative, Dean Phillips and continues to lead 100 digital ambassadors working on his presidential campaign. With her knowledge and participation in past YAG events and leadership opportunities in the real world, Lilja believes she is a well-prepared candidate to suit the role of future governor. 

By Izzie McLawhorn

Jaylin Cochrane
Jaylin Cochrane is a junior with the High Point delegation and is committed to increasing diversity, making sure all voices are heard, as well as amplifying the overall YAG experience. She has been in YAG for two years and encourages everybody to attend. Outside of YAG, she is very involved in her school community as she currently serves as treasurer and secretary of her school’s Student Government Association and is also a member of the National Beta Club. Along with enriching all branches within YAG, Cochrane also has goals to enhance Friday Fun Nights as well as the Governor's Gala. By voting for Cochrane, you vote for all voices to be heard, and valued and for the best possible YAG experience. Cochrane believes she will fulfill the role of a strong governor due to her participation during past YAG weekends, and the leadership she shows in her school community. 

By Keegan Brown

Sophie Johnson
Sophie Johnson from R.J. Reynolds High School is coming in hot as a Governor candidate expressing her eagerness and experience. With this year being Johnson’s third year at YAG she carries tons of experience including being awarded Best Bill of Conference and is a current Senior Lobbyist. She is a part of many extracurriculars, one being Model UN where she organized the first mock conference in Forsyth County. She is also a part of her school's dance team where she has learned leadership skills and how to work well with others. With everything that Johnson is a part of she has made YAG a big part of her life. She has many goals if she becomes governor. Some want to spread YAG more across the state, focus on specialty roles, grow the judicial programs, create polls for Friday Fun night themes, and even provide complimentary Starbucks gift cards at conference for delegates. 

By Emma Campeau

Grant Faraci
Hoping to continue the “fight against corruption” and open up a new YAG chapter, Grant Faraci is running for youth governor! Faraci is a junior at Forsyth Country Day School. Faraci hopes to revolutionize Youth and Government as we know it by using his leadership experience and perspective to shape the program. With his experience from his previous years at YAG, Faraci believes he can best lead the program further into its success and bring excitement by utilizing the platform that comes with being youth governor. Faraci also hopes to make Youth and Government an even more welcoming and exciting experience. A vote for Grant Faraci is a vote for a determined, compassionate, and confident leader.