* Girls State: Amelia Austin, Molly Butler, Emily Chester, Stephanie Grove, Shannon Manon, Katherine Ryan, Rachel Van Dyke and Olivia Vasquez
* Boys State: Jonathan Adams, Knox Allen, Michael Biskup, Ryan Carr, Michael Crookshanks, Sean Floody, James Howlin, Blake Jarvis, Youhne Sangjoin, Ashton Seibel, Noah Scharch, Joshua T. Torre, Joshua B. Wheeler, Morgan White and Jacob H. Wood
Several Forsyth County high school students recently spent a week getting a first-hand education about government.
Fifteen boys and eight girls took part in the American Legion’s annual Boys State and Girls State programs June 9-15.
Held each summer at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, the programs provide a weeklong, hands-on civics lesson to the students.
“They experience six days of brotherhood or sisterhood and learning about our Republican form of government, creating a functioning state,” said John Arant, commander of American Legion’s 9thDistrict and a member of Cumming Post 307.
Through both programs, the students learn all about local and state governments by being elected to posts such as sheriff or mayor and performing all the duties those positions entail.
Boys State has been ongoing in every state except Hawaii since 1935, when two American Legion members in Illinois created the program as a way to counter Adolph Hitler’s youth movement.
Girls State began two years later in Washington, D.C., and Delaware. Since 1948, Girls State has been a regular part of American Legion Auxiliary programs.
The students chosen to participate in both programs are rising seniors with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 who have shown strong leadership and community service skills.
The boys and girls are nominated for the program by school counselors. They are then interviewed by committees from the American Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary.
The groups pay all expenses of the students during their time in the programs.