Robert Frizell participated as a delegate at the 80th Anniversary Session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy, held June 4 through June 9, at Kansas State University in Manhattan. Robert, of Great Bend, who will be a senior at Great Bend High School in the fall, was one of 461 young men who attended the weeklong government and leadership program. During the program, Robert was a member of the city of Spigarelli, in Powell County, and held the position of Representative.
The Boys State of Kansas program consists of an interactive simulation that teaches high school seniors-to-be the value of democracy and civic duty. Participants form mock governments and campaign for positions at the city, county and state level. After the elections, delegates find out firsthand the difficult decisions made daily by those in government through a series of challenging simulations.
Throughout the week, the delegates heard from many influential speakers. This year’s keynote address was delivered by Josh Svaty, former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. Other speakers included: motivational speaker Clint Usher and state representative Tom Cox (District 17).
Delegates are sponsored by American Legion posts from all over Kansas, as well as various civic organizations. All delegates demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities in student government, athletics and/or other activities, and were nominated to attend by school counselors and influential people in their lives. Nominations for next year’s session may be submitted online via the Boys State of Kansas website at www.kansasboysstate.org.
The Boys State program was founded by the American Legion in 1935 in Illinois to promote and teach the ideals of democracy. In the 82 years since, the program has spread to 49 states. The first session of the Boys State of Kansas was held in 1937 at Wichita State University. The Kansas program moved to the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1963 and remained there until 1991. The following year, it moved to its current location at Kansas State University. Each year, two delegates from each state are selected to attend Boys Nation, held annually in Washington, D.C.
Famous alumni of the Boys State program include former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Richard Cheney, astronaut Neil Armstrong and professional athlete Michael Jordan. Kansas alumni include Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, U.S. Ambassador and former chief executive officer of National Public Radio Delano Lewis, former Kansas Governor John Carlin and Ajit Pai, the chairman of
the Federal Communications Commission.
The American Legion is an organization of veterans who have bravely served our country in times of war. They work to promote and defend the values of democracy and freedom in all facets of American life. The American Legion Auxiliary hosts the American Legion Girls State program.