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Tar Heel Boys’ State at Catawba College June 18-24

June 15, 2017

Category: Events

boysstate.jpgCatawba College will host the 78th annual session of Tar Heel Boys’ State June 18-24.  This is the 12th 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.

This year, slated speakers include on Monday, June 19, at 9:00 a.m., Representative Linda Johnson will speak about writing bills and at 10:30 a.m. Senator Jeff Jackson and Senator Tom McInnis will speak about the Political Parties; on Wednesday, June 21, at 1:00 p.m., Commissioner Greg Edds will discuss his role as an elected official in county government.  Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander will discuss her role as a city official, and N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak on the Judicial System at 7:00 p.m.  Attorney General Josh Stein will speak on N.C. Government Friday, June 23 at 10:00 a.m. and United States Congressman Bob Inglis will speak on issues facing the U.S. Government at 1:00 p.m. to the young men. 

On Friday evening, participants will entertain each other with a band concert and a talent show.  The week concludes with a commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, in Keppel Auditorium.

Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys’ State is directed by Roy Pressley of Waynesville, N.C., 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 N.C. 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 of note include Catawba College Alumnus Phil Kirk ‘67,  chairman emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education; professional basketball great Michael Jordan of N.C.; and N.C. 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. Senator Sam Nunn, former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.

For more information about Tar Heel Boys’ State, visit

Between June 18-24, 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) 637-4166.