Tar Heel Boys State opens 79th annual session Sunday at Catawba College

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tar Heels Boys State

SALISBURY — Catawba College will host the 79th annual session of Tar Heel Boys State Sunday through June 23.

This is the 16th consecutive year that the weeklong assembly has been held at Catawba. Nearly 300 participants, all rising high school seniors from North Carolina, are expected.

State government leaders traditionally speak at sessions during Tar Heel Boys State. Past speakers have included the governor and lieutenant governor, the state attorney general and secretary of state, as well as distinguished alumni from the programs.

This year, speakers include:

• 9 a.m. Monday: Congressman Bob Inglis will speak on issues facing the federal government

• 10:30 a.m. Monday: State Sens Jeff Jackson and Dan Barrett will speak about the political parties

• 1 p.m. Wednesday: Rowan County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds will discuss his role in county government. Karen Alexander, a Salisbury city councilwoman, will discuss her role as a city official.

• 7 p.m.: N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak on the judicial system.

• 10 a.m. June 22: N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein will speak on state government.

On the evening of June 22, participants will entertain each other with a band concert and variety show. The week will concludes with a commencement at 10:30 a.m. June 23 in Keppel Auditorium.

Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys State is directed by Roy Pressley of Waynesville, 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 state government. In a nonpartisan 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 business. They also assume the role of a senator, representative or lobbyist to research and write bills for their legislature.

Each citizen is 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.

ormer Boys’ State participants of note include Catawba College alumnus Phil Kirk, chairman emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education; professional basketball great Michael Jordan; and former Govs. Jim Hunt and James Martin. National program alumni of note include former President Bill Clinton, former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong.

For more information about Tar Heel Boys State, visit www.tarheelboysstate.org.

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