Warwick American Legion Post 214 will soon decide on four delegates to this summer’s prestigious Boys’ State program.
American Legion Boys’ State is a week-long program that immerses high school students in citizenship and leadership training.
Nicholas P. Lesando, Jr., American Legion Post 214 will select four Warwick Valley High School juniors from candidates submitted from the high school guidance office. Boys cannot apply themselves. It is purely by staff recommendation. Names of the top vote getters will be forwarded to the American Legion committee for consideration.
Last summer’s Boys’ State representatives from Warwick Valley High School were Vidar Hagerman, Adam Lazina and Max Berryman. Post 214 annually sponsors three students. This year the Warwick Valley Rotary Club has donated funds to sponsor a fourth WVHS representative to Boys’ State.
Attendees learn the practical aspects of government, run for local and state offices, and participate in physical activities under the guidance of American Legion counselors and U.S. Marines.
Applicants are recommended by schools based on leadership, scholarship, character, and service. Delegates selected by the Legion have been scheduled to will join more 1,100 delegates from throughout New York at the Boys’ State convocation at Morrisville State College near Syracuse on June 28 to July 3. Whether the gathering is postponed or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to be determined.
Boys’ State is sponsored annually by the American Legion in each state and delegates are selected by local Legion Posts.
Prominent graduates of Boys’ State include presidents George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
Boys’ State is primarily a leadership action program in which top high school juniors participate in a course in practical government. Delegates join a political party and elect officials to all levels of government - from town and county to state legislature and the judiciary. They will also elect delegates to the national “Boys’ Nation” in Washington D.C.
In addition to government, delegates can participate in a variety of sports, publish a daily newspaper, and play in a marching band. The week culminates in a review ceremony at Morrisville. Delegates leave with a working knowledge of governmental organization and the idea that good government depends on active participation.
WVHS Guidance Office Secretary Claire Riley and American Legion Vice Commander Stan Martin are coordinating the delegate selection.