LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ - Four Summit High School students -- Cooper Daley, Conor Fagan, Emmet McNamara, and Danylo Mirin -- are part of of a group of 838 rising seniors representing 325 communities attending the the 73rd session of the American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS) conference this week at Rider University.

The week-long, learn-by-doing leadership program, which began on June 17 and concludes June 22, affords student attendees the opportunity to govern and interact with their peers from across New Jersey as they run their own mythical 51st state. Within 24 hours of their arrival to ALJBS, students formed 18 mock city governments and two political parties to elect a mayor and city council to guide their city throughout the week.

Each student has an opportunity to participate in the political party process by running for office, participating in friendly debate and voting in elections, among many other events. By the end of the week, the delegation will elect a new ALJBS Governor, Lieutenant Governor and two Boys Nation Senators, who will attend a national program in Washington, D.C. this summer.

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The college credit-qualified program is sponsored by the American Legion Department of New Jersey. Students are typically chosen and sponsored by a local American Legion Post and other community-based organizations, with the four Hilltopper teens representing American Legion Post #322.
Highlights of the session will include:

  • Notable speakers such as: Senator Bob Menendez (ALJBS ’71), Congressman Leonard Lance (ALJBS ’69), State Treasurer Liz Muoio, US Senate candidate Bob Hugin, and NJ101.5’s Bill Spadea, among many others;
  • Leadership and career seminars taught by business executives, military representatives, political consultants, law experts, journalists, and other professional experts; 
  • The Jersey Boys State College and Career Fair presented by the New Jersey Boys State Foundation featuring nearly 80 institutions and organizations from across the country;
  • Election of the 73rd ALJBS Governor on Thursday, June 21; and
  • Election of two Boys Nation Senators on Friday, June 22, who will represent New Jersey at the annual American Legion Boys Nation conference in Washington D.C. this summer.

Program alumni include former Governor Chris Christie (Boys Nation Senator, 1979), Senator Bob Menendez (1971), Senator Cory Booker (1986), Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito (1967), Congressman Leonard Lance (1969) and Assemblyman Herbert Conaway (ALJBS Governor, 1980).