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Tar Heel Boys’ State at Catawba College June 22-28

June 10, 2014

Category: Events

logo-boysstate.jpgCatawba College will host the 75th annual session of Tar Heel Boys’ State June 22-28.  This is the tenth 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 at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 22, Representative Linda Johnson who will speak about writing bills, and at 11:15 a.m. Justin Conley and Senator Andrew Brock will speak about the Political Parties. On Wednesday, June 25, at 1 p.m. Rowan County Commissioner Jim Sides will discuss his role as an elected official in county government while Bill Oxford, a former city mayor, will discuss his role as a city official, and at 7 p.m. that evening, N.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak on the Judicial System. United States Congressman Bob Inglis will speak on issues facing the U.S. Government at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 27.

During the evening of Friday, June 27, 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. Saturday, June 28, in Keppel Auditorium.

Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys’ State is directed by Roy Pressley of Waynesville, NC, 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 22-28, 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.