O'Connell Student Named 2019 Youth Governor

Tommy Dannenfelser with Mr. Haas

Tommy Dannenfelser with Mr. Greg Haas.

Congratulations to O’Connell junior Tommy Dannenfelser, who was recently elected Youth Governor for the 2019 Virginia Model General Assembly (MGA).

Tommy has been a part of the Bishop O’Connell MGA club for the past two years, taking the statewide conference by storm his sophomore year, where he played the role of a persistent investigative reporter. His hard work that year earned him a spot at the national conference—the Conference on National Affairs in Black Mountain, N.C.

This year, Tommy served as a youth state senator during the three-day Virginia event in Richmond, where he debated and voted on bills while campaigning for next year’s highest office.

Once again, he will join high school students from around the country as a Virginia delegate at the annual national youth conference in North Carolina in July. Before that, he will participate in a five day Youth Governors Conference in Washington, D.C., where he and 38 other state youth governors come together to learn more about leadership and government.

Tommy is looking forward to his role as Virginia’s youth governor in 2019. He will have a chance to meet and chat with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam before he introduces him at the opening ceremonies of the Model General Assembly. As Youth Governor, Tommy will make an official address at the opening and closing ceremonies, meet with other high school delegates to discuss their bills, and make the final decision on all legislation. Before the MGA meets, he and his staff will review all bills.

When he isn’t busy with his gubernatorial duties, Tommy is an active member of the O’Connell community. Right now he is back stage on the tech crew helping the O’Connell Players get ready for a “practically perfect” production of Mary Poppins. He is also involved in the school’s Hispanic Heritage Club and Haiti Action Community.

“I could not be more proud of Tommy and all the members of the MGA club,” said Social Studies teacher and club moderator, Mr. Greg Haas. “They worked very hard and represented our school well.”

“My experience at MGA has taught me how to express ideas effectively,” said Tommy. “At the same time, I’ve made friends with students throughout Virginia and around the nation.”


Read a Q&A with Tommy online at INSIDE NOVA (Apr. 23, 2018).

All O’Connell students in grades 9 through 12 are invited to join the MGA club. Talk to Mr. Haas or Tommy to find out more!