Boys State begins Sunday at Catawba

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

SALISBURY ó Catawba College will host the 72nd annual session of Tar Heel Boys State starting Sunday.
This is the eighth consecutive year that the weeklong event has been held on campus and approximately 300 participants, all rising high school seniors from North Carolina, are expected.
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.
On Monday at 9 a.m., Rep. Linda Johnson will speak about writing bills. At 10:10 a.m., there will be a debate between Veleria Levy, Rowan County Democratic Party Chair, and Andrew Brock, N.C. Republican Party senator
On Wednesday at 1 p.m., Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley and Pender County Commissioner Chester Ward will offer information about roles as an elected official in county government. High Point City Council Member Bernita Sims and a Durham City Council member will discuss their roles as elected officials in city government. At 7 p.m., N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak on the judicial system.
On Friday, the lieutenant governor of North Carolina, Walter Dalton, will speak on state government at 10 a.m. Participants will also enjoy a chorus concert, a band concert and a talent show.
The week concludes with a commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Keppel Auditorium.
Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys State is directed by Charlie Cleary of Hillsborough, an American Legion member and a Boysí 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 government, 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.
Former Boys State participants include Catawba College Alumnus Phil Kirk í67, chairman emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education; professional basketball great Michael Jordan; and N.C. Governors Jim Hunt and James Martin. National program alumni of note include former President Bill Clinton, former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, Sen. Sam Nunn, former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
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