American Legion Post 177 accepted three candidates for Buckeye Boys State and Girls State programs at its Feb. 11 meeting, where Eva Lamberson, Dominic Morgione and Michael Factor each attended and gave a brief presentation on why they wanted to attend the program.
"They are all three a great bunch of young people," Post 177 Cmdr. Mike Kubitza said.
Both Boys State and Girls State are leadership and citizenship programs sponsored by the American Legion and American Legion Auxillary for high school juniors. Buckeye Boys State is sponsored by the American Legion Department of Ohio, the largest veterans organization in the state of Ohio, and Buckeye Girls State is sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary of Ohio.
Kubitza said the Buckeye Boys State and Girls State are participatory programs that sponsors high school representatives from Ohio. The students visit a college campus where they will run a mock government on all levels, from local officials to county and state politicians. The students become part of the operation of local, county and state government.
Buckeye Boys State is an eight-day hands-on experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Ohio government. Founded in 1936, Buckeye Boys State is the largest Boys State program in the nation with an attendance of more than 1,200 young men annually, representing nearly 600 high schools, several online high schools and the home-schooled community.
Buckeye Girls State is a weeklong program designed to educate Ohio's young women in the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of good citizenship. By getting involved in the process, BGS delegates learn more about city, county and state government.
Boys State is June 11-18 at Miami University, and Girls State is June 11-17 at University of Mount Union in Alliance.
At Boys State and Girls State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, the activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies and recreational programs.
The legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. Individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.
After the explanation, each candidate was given the floor for a short talk and to answer questions from Post 177 members.
First up was Lamberson, daughter of Rodney Lamberson and Linda Cooper, who was applying for Buckeye Girls State. She is a Canfield High School student who has taken AP government and social studies courses. She is a member of speech and debate and Model UN, and has been active in political campaigns for the 2016 elections.
"I am interested in law and politics and I have heard this is a great experience," she said.
Lamberson said her interest is in pursuing a career in politics and holding public office. She added that she heard positive feedback regarding Girls State from Canfield students Carson Markley and Allyson Cooper, who are alumni of past programs.
Lamberson was approved after a vote of the Post 177 members Bark Kubitza and Cathy Gagliardi.
Next up was the first Boys State candidate Dominic Morgione, son of Vince and Maria Morgione of Canfield, and a student at Ursuline High School. Morgione had served as freshman class secretary, sophomore class vice president, and is on the student council executive board at Ursuline.
"I am interested in this program because I am interested in how government works," he said. "I am in an AP U.S. government class and love politics."
He added that in his spare time he plays guitar, keyboard and bass in a local classic rock band.
"When you attend Boys State, take your instrument as they do have a band," Kubitza said.
The final candidate to speak was Canfield High School student Michael Factor, son of Joseph and Lori Factor. He is in speech and debate, Model UN and plays in the high school band.
"Boys State will give me a good look at government from the local level upwards," Factor said. "That will be great as I plan on majoring in international relations and political science."
Following the final two presentations, the Post 177 membership voted and approved both Morgione and Factor to attend Boys State.
Kubitza said there were three other candidates who are being considered, but they were not able to attend the meeting this month.