In The Schools

Statesmen in the Making, Summit Contingent Heads to 'Jersey Boys State' Program

From left, Summit High School 'Jersey Boys State' program participants Joe Shepard, Miles Bergman, and Ben Schachter. Not pictured: Jack Browne. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit

SUMMIT, NJ - Summit High School rising seniors Joe Shepard, Jack Browne, Miles Bergman and Ben Schachter are among 1,000 students are expected to attend the 72nd session of the American Legion Jersey Boys State Program (ALJBS) at Rider University.

The week-long, college credit qualified conference, sponsored by the American Legion Department of New Jersey, begins June 18, and concludes June 23.
Summit is one of 325 New Jersey communities are sending high school rising-seniors to attend ALJBS. The students, referred to as statesmen, will participate in a hands-on approach to government at the local, county, and state level. Within 24 hours of their arrival to ALJBS, statesmen will form 18 mock city governments, divide into political parties, and elect a mayor and city council from within their ranks.

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Each statesman will have an opportunity to participate in the political process by running for public office, forming party apparatus, writing legislation, and voting for their peers in city, county and statewide elections, among other events. By the end of the week, one statesman will be elected the 72nd Governor of ALJBS, and two statesmen will be elected as Boys Nation Senators who will represent New Jersey at the 2017 Boys Nation Conference in Washington, DC.
Program highlights will include:

  • U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, along with Lt. Governor and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno, U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance and former New Jersey governor Christie Todd Whitman anchor the speaker’s list at this year’s session. ESPN’s Jay Williams, former NBA and collegiate star, will deliver a speech on Friday; 
  • 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 100 institutions and organizations from across the country;
  • Election of the 72nd ALJBS Governor on Thursday, June 22; and
  • Election of two Boys Nation Senators on Friday, June 23, who will represent New Jersey at the annual American Legion Boys Nation conference in Washington D.C. this summer.

Senator Booker, ALJBS Class of ‘86, said, "Boys State played an integral role in inspiring me to commit my life to public service, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to share that experience with New Jersey’s future leaders," Sen. Cory Booker said. "The valuable lessons of democracy and community engagement that are instilled through Boys State and Girls State have encouraged young men and women from across New Jersey to become civic-minded leaders committed to responsible citizenship.”

Notable ALJBS alumni include 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). 

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