Huntington students and school officials with American Legion Greenlawn Post members.

H-ton Students Chosen for American Legion Boys State

Huntington students and school officials with American Legion Greenlawn Post members.

February 6, 2020

Huntington High School will be well represented in this year’s American Legion Boys State program at SUNY Morrisville State College. The leadership action initiative will run from June 28 to July 3 in Upstate New York.

John Holly, Andrew McKenzie, Roberto Castillo, Jack Kurathkowski, Matthew Colavecchio and Aidan Bender have all been selected to participate in the highly regarded program. Harrison McKenna and Joe O’Connell have been tapped as alternates.

The Huntington contingent is being sponsored by the Greenlawn Post of the American Legion. Legionnaires Ed O’Shea and Charlie Armstrong recently met with the students, Huntington High School Principal Brenden Cusack and Chairman of Humanities Joseph Leavy.

“It’s great to have been selected and recognized,” Mr. McKenzie said. “I look forward to going. I’m sure it will be a great experience for me to use in my future.”

To be selected for participation, students are required to demonstrate outstanding qualifications in leadership, character, scholarship, service and citizenship along with a serious attitude toward an intensive citizenship training program.

“American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students,” according to the organization. “A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935. Participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.”

Huntington’s participants are excited about the program. “All are outstanding young men and future national and local leaders who have been nominated by their social studies teachers to a departmental committee who then recommended them the American Legion for interviews,” Mr. Leavy said.

“Boys State is developed from the concept that youth should be offered a better perspective of the practical operation of government; that the individual is responsible for the character and success of their government,” according to the organization.” As such, it is an activity of high educational value, born of a need for youth training in practical citizenship.

An objective citizenship training program, Boys State isn’t a summer camp, although there is a recreational component. It is designed for participants to develop a working knowledge of the structure of government and to drive home the point that “their government is just ‘what they make of it.’”

The program’s objectives are:

  • To develop civic leadership and pride in American citizenship. It is hoped students will return to their community as a better citizen than when they left and that they will have a desire to demonstrate this fact by their willingness to make civic contributions which will help make the community a better place in which to live.
  • To stimulate a keen interest in the detailed study of our government.
  • To incite in these young citizens a determination to maintain our form of government.
  • To develop in these students a full understanding of American traditions and a belief in the United States of America.