Four WHS Juniors Accepted Into National Political and Civics Program

Boys and Girls State is a program that has students create mock-governments across the country

Boys and Girls State is a program that has students create mock-governments across the country

Phil Reidy

Four Walpole High School students, two Junior boys and two Junior girls were recently selected to be part of the Boys and Girls State programs. These two programs were organized by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, which instructs high school age boys and girls about the functions of local, county, and state government. The program puts the participants in a simulated political structure on a college campus where they form their own governments.

The website for the Boys State program describes the function of the program: “At Boys State, 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.” ¬†Girls State is a separate program from Boys State in that it is run by the American Legion Auxiliary, but operates in much the same manner as the other.

Jake Kelsey, Kevin Delaney, Vandana Apte, and Emma Comiskey, all in the Junior class, were the four students selected to participate in the programs. The chosen students were asked a series of questions concerning local government, such as the names of certain officials representing Walpole and Massachusetts, in addition to the structure of the local, state, and federal government, and the function of each. They were also quizzed on their knowledge of the detail of Walpole’s town government, as well as the three branches of federal government and their individual functions. Each student was asked about a particular figure in history who has inspired them, with names like Ron Paul and Elizabeth Warren, among others being the responses. Jake Kelsey said about his answer to the question; “I think John McCain is a really great American having served in a foreign war and returning to America to make an effect on politics here, and I also agree with many of his political views.”

The criteria for being accepted into the program are “respect for the flag, an above average scholastic standing, strong leadership capabilities, high moral character” (the listed criteria as stated by the Girls State program), as well as sharing an interest in government and current events. Students, if selected in their individual state, will become a delegate in Boys/Girls Nation, a larger program that encompasses all states except Hawaii, which does not have a Boys or Girls State program. Each student will be participating in the program at a college campus during the summer, most likely sponsored by a local business or other organization within town.