Tar Heel Boys' State at Catawba College June 18-24
June 14, 2006
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Sponsored by the American Legion, Tar Heel Boys' State is directed by Roy Pressley of Waynesville, a past State American Legion Commander 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.
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, a debate between Jerry Meek, chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, and a representative of the N.C. Republican Party at 9 a.m., and an address by N.C. Legislator Linda Johnson of the 74th District at 10:10 a.m.; on Wednesday, June 21, local government officials, including High Point City Council members Ronald Wilkins, Benita Sims and Bill Bellamy, and W. Ray Woodall, Johnson County commissioner, at 1:30 p.m., and an address on the court system in N.C. by the Hon. Anderson Cromer, Superior Court Judge for District 17-B, and the Hon. Lisa Menefee, District Court Judge for 21st District, at 7 p.m.
During the evening Friday, June 23, participants will be 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 24, in Keppel Auditorium.
Notable former Boys' State participants include Catawba College Alumnus Phil Kirk '67, chairman emeritus of the N.C. State Board of Education and vice president of external affairs for Catawba; professional basketball great Michael Jordan of N.C.; and N.C. Governors Jim Hunt and James Martin. National program alumni of note include U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dick Cheney, U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.