UNION, NJ - Three young men from Union are among 838 other rising-seniors from New Jersey who attended the 73rd session of the annual American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS.)
The students from Union, Legion Post #35, are Adnan Oudeh, Jacob Randolph and Miles Smith.
At the event at Rider University last week, the students gott to "govern and interact with their peers from across New Jersey as they run their own mythical 51st state," said the American Legion.
"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," said the organization. "Each student had 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."
According to the American Legion, by the end of the week the teens elected a new ALJBS governor, lieutenant governor and two Boys Nation senators who will attend a national program in Washington, D.C. this summer.
"The college credit-qualified program, sponsored by the American Legion Department of New Jersey, is a preeminent learn-by-doing leadership program," said the organization. It said students are typically chosen and sponsored by a local American Legion Post and other community organizations.
“In our 73rd year, we are very happy to welcome 883 of New Jersey’s brightest leaders to Jersey Boys State,” ALJBS Executive Director David Bagatelle said. “American Legion Jersey Boys State serves as a leadership incubator for our state’s top students who will become our political, community, military, and business leaders.”
Speakers at the event include state Sen. Bob Menendez (ALJBS ’71), U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (ALJBS ’69), State Treasurer Liz Muoio, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Hugin (ALJBS ’71) and NJ101.5’s Bill Spadea, said the American Legion.
There were leadership and career seminars taught by business executives, military representatives, political consultants, law experts, journalists and other professional experts. There was also be a 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.
Notable ALJBS alumni include former Gov. Chris Christie (Boys Nation Senator, 1979), Menendez (1971), U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (1986), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito (1967), Lance (1969) and state Assemblyman Herbert Conaway (ALJBS Governor, 1980).