Three Cedar Grove Students Attend American Legion Jersey Boys State

Pictured L to R: Hunter Romanko, Joseph Diaz and Dylan Giacobbe
American Legion Jersey Boys State is held annually at Rider University. Credits: American Legion Jersey Boys State Facebook Page
American Legion Jersey Boys State’s (ALJBS) 2016.

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ - Three boys from Cedar Grove were among thirty-four rising high school seniors from Essex county that attended the 72nd session of American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS). Dylan Giacobbe and Hunter Romanko, both students at Cedar Grove High School, and Joseph Diaz, of DePaul Catholic High School, attended the event from Cedar Grove.  Held every year at Rider University, the college credit-qualified conference, sponsored by the American Legion Department of New Jersey, is one of the leading “government-in-action” program in the country. Statesman are typically chosen and sponsored by local American Legion Posts and other community-based organizations. 

“It’s our honor to welcome 953 statesmen to Jersey Boys State,” ALJBS Director David Bagatelle said. “American Legion Jersey Boys State shapes the future for so many young students, each year, who become our political, community, military, and business leaders.”
Statesmen are afforded the opportunity to govern and interact with their peers from across New Jersey as they run their own mythical 51st state from June 18-23. Within 24 hours of their arrival to ALJBS, statesmen formed 18 mythical cities and two political parties to elect a mayor and city council to guide their city throughout the week. 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. By the end of the week, the delegation elected a new ALJBS Governor, Lieutenant Governor and two Boys Nation Senators, who will attend a national program in Washington, D.C. this summer.
Highlights include:

  • Notable speakers this year included Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno, Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, U.S. Rep Leonard Lance, former Gov. Christie Whitman and ESPN analyst/NBA star Jay Williams
  • Leadership and career seminars taught by business executives, military representatives, political consultants, law experts, journalists, and other professional experts;  
  • A college fair featuring more than 90 institutions 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 program in Washington D.C. this summer. 

Notable ALJBS alumni include Gov. Chris Christie (Boys Nation Senator, 1979), Sen. Bob Menendez (1971), Sen. Cory Booker (1986), Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito (1967), Rep. Leonard Lance (1969) and Assemblyman Herbert Conaway (ALJBS Governor, 1980).

2017 Essex County Delegation
Benjamin Asher, Livingston, Legion Post #201
Evan Bitan, Millburn, Legion Post #140
Sean Brody, Livingston, Legion Post #201
Grant Burroughs, Montclair, Legion Post #251
Brian Cariddi, Short Hills, Legion Post #140
Ben Chelnitsky, North Caldwell, Legion Post #185
Deandre Clarke, Montclair, Legion Post #251
Spencer Cowen, North Caldwell, Legion Post #185
Joey Diaz, Cedar Grove, Legion Post #174
Gerard Dimayuga, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Vincent Elopre, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Dylan Giacobbe, Cedar Grove, Legion Post #185
Joshua Heacock, Maplewood, Legion Post #140
Nathan Katz, Livingston, Legion Post #201
Joshua Kohler, Caldwell, Legion Post #185
Eduardo Machado, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Charles Marashlian, No Caldwell, Legion Post #185
Sameer Matta, Livingston, Legion Post #201
Anshul Nayar, Short Hills, Legion Post #140
Michael Paolello, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Jack Payne, West Caldwell, Legion Post #185
James Quinn, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Tanveer Qureshi, West Orange, Legion Post #205
Darien Ramirez, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Reshad Richards, Montclair, Legion Post #75
Reshawn Richards, Montclair, Legion Post #19
Hunter Romanko, Cedar Grove, Legion Post #185
Noah Roselli, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Charles Scorsone, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Matthew Scorsone, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Bijan Terani, West Orange, Legion Post #251
Chris Tsakonas, Fairfield, Legion Post #185
Rauf Ural, Nutley, Legion Post #70
Marc Younker, West Orange, Legion Post #251

About American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS)

In its 72nd year, ALJBS is a week-long experience that educates and motivates New Jersey’s youth so that each statesman may become a citizen leader dedicated to service, respect, and Americanism. Together, the statesmen form a mock “51st” state of the union each year, where they elect their own local, state, and national representatives. Activities at ALJBS include legislative sessions, general assemblies, court proceedings, athletics, band, and career seminars, among many others. All expenses associated with attending ALJBS are typically donated by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business, or a community-based organization.



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