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Tar Heel Boys' State at Catawba College June 19-25

June 15, 2011

Category: Events, Politics

Catawba CollegeCatawba College will host the 72nd annual session of Tar Heel Boys' State June 19-25. 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.

This year, slated speakers include on Monday, June 20, at 9:00 a.m., Representative Linda Johnson will speak about writing bills and at 10:10 a.m., a debate between Veleria Levy, Rowan County Democratic Party Chair, and Andrew Brock, N.C. Republican Party Senator; on Wednesday, June 22, at 1:00 p.m., Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley and Pender County Commissioner Chester Ward will offer information to Boys' State participants about his role as an elected official in county government, while High Point City Council Member Bernita Sims and Durham City Council Member will discuss their role as an elected official in city government; also on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., NC Supreme Court Justice, Robert Edmunds will speak on the Judicial System. The Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, Walter Dalton, will speak on the State Government on Friday June 24 at 10:00 am to the young men.

During the evening of Friday, June 24, 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 25, 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 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 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 19-25, 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.


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