Tar Heel Boys' State at Catawba College June 21-27
June 19, 2009
Catawba College will host the 70th annual session of Tar Heel Boys' State June 21-27. This is the sixth consecutive year that the weeklong event has been held on campus and approximately 275 participants, all rising high school seniors from North Carolina, are expected.
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.
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 22, at 9:00 a.m., Representative Linda Johnson will speak about writing bills and at 10:10 a.m., a debate between Marcus Kindley, N.C. Democratic Party, and Ron Wilkins, N.C. Republican Party; on Wednesday, June 24, at 1:00 p.m., Joe Carpenter, Gaston County Commissioner and Cabarrus County Commissioner Jay White will offer information to Boys' State participants about their roles as elected officials in county government, and Charlie Farris, a Wilson County lawyer, will talk about his role in the judicial process, while High Point City Council Member Bernita Sims will discuss her role as an elected official in city government; also on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m., Supreme Court Justice Robert Edmunds will speak about the N.C. Court System to the Boys' State participants.
During the evening on Friday, June 26, 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 27, 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; 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, NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw and NASA Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
For more information about Tar Heel Boys' State, visit www.ncboysstate.org. Between June 21-27, 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.