Boys State set for Sunday at Catawba College
Catawba College will host the 70th annual session of Tar Heel Boys State Sunday through June 27. This is the sixth consecutive year the weeklong event has been held on campus and approximately 275 participants, all rising high school seniors from North Carolina, are expected.
Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys State is directed by Charlie Cleary of Hillsborough, an American Legion member and a Boys State staffer for the last several years.
Involving high school juniors who are academically in the top third of their class, the program is a weeklong practical study of the structure and operation of North Carolina State Government. In a non-partisan atmosphere, participants take a hands-on approach to learning how state and local governments function. Citizens, as the participants are known, develop an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship by creating and living under their own mock government.
During the week, citizens are grouped into cities as they organize their own local governments, elect officers, prepare a city charter and conduct city activities. Citizens also assume the role of a senator, representative or lobbyist to research and write bills for their legislature. Each citizen is also a member of a fictitious political party that will develop a party platform, campaign for party candidates and ultimately elect a slate of officers to govern.
Notable state leaders traditionally speak at sessions during Tar Heel Boys State. Past speakers have included the N.C. governor and lieutenant governor, the N.C. attorney general and secretary of state, as well as distinguished alumni from the programs.
This year, slated speakers include:
– Monday, 9 a.m., N.C. Rep. Linda Johnson will speak about writing bills; at 10:10 a.m., Marcus Kindley, of the N.C. Democratic Party, and Ron Wilkins, of the N.C. Republican Party will debate.
– Wednesday, 1 p.m., Gaston County Commissioner Joe Carpenter and Cabarrus County Commissioner Jay White will offer information to Boys State participants about their roles as elected officials in county government and Charlie Farris, a Wilson County lawyer, will talk about his role in the judicial process, while High Point City Councilwoman Bernita Sims will discuss her role as an elected official in city government; at 7 p.m., Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak to participants about the N.C. Court System.
During the evening Friday, participants will entertain each other with a chorus concert, a band concert and a talent show. The week concludes with a commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 27, in Keppel Auditorium.
Notable former Boys’ State participants include 1967 Catawba College alumnus Phil Kirk, chairman emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education; professional basketball great Michael Jordan; and former North Carolina governors Jim Hunt and James Martin.
National program alumni of note include former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former U.S. vice presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong.
For more information about Tar Heel Boys State, visit www.ncboysstate.org.
Between June 21-27, contact Christopher Byrd, instructional coordinator for the program, on the Catawba College campus at 704-637-4216, or Tonia Black-Gold, Catawba College communications officer, at 704-637-4393.