Five young men from THS junior class have been nominated to go to this year’s weeklong event focused on learning, responsible citizenship, and leadership . Our nominees are (L to R) Elijah Esparza, Thomas Choboter, Seth Cherry, Clayton Wicka and Miles Martinelli.
According to their website, American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.
Legion posts select high school juniors to attend the program. In most cases, individual expenses are paid by a sponsoring post, a local business or another community-based organization.
To get to this point candidates have been nominated by teachers for their excellent character and citizenship as young men who have shown outstanding leadership, honesty and cooperativeness and are in the upper third of their class academically.
OVERVIEW OF THE EVENT
Once there, students typically engage in a number of political activities such as running for office, electing officials, drafting and debating bills, and making motions. Some programs offer City and County mock courts, and a state Supreme Court, with the participants acting as lawyers, judges, plaintiffs, defendants, and jury members. Additionally, there are lectures and workshops for students to fully immerse themselves in government and politics.
A majority of programs divide their participants into two political parties: Nationalists and Federalists. Each political party establishes an official party platform voted on by its members. Participants are elected to a variety of offices including House of Representatives and Senate seats, executive offices (governor, lieutenant governor, Secretary of State, treasurer, etc.). Participants also run for city and county offices such as mayor, county clerk, municipal judge, city councilman, and many more depending on the individual program’s setup.
Our 5 nominees will be interviewed next week by a group of representatives from the American Legion. From this group of nominees one will be selected and several alternates. Good luck to all of our nominees.
MEET OUR NOMINEES
“When I heard I was nominated I was surprised and kind of didn’t know what to expect. I had heard from Blake [who went last year] that it was really great so I had a lot of anticipation to hear more about it.” — Elijah Esparza
Elijah is very involved at THS. He is a member of the THS Volleyball team and has played on the team since he was a freshman. He also runs cross country. He is a member of many clubs including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Chess Club, Rock and Roll Club, Science Bowl, Dungeons and Dragons and the Computer Science/Coding Club and loves taking part in Mock Rock.
Outside of school Elijah is equally busy. He has a job at an event venue that he works at on weekends. He also enjoys mountain biking and rock climbing. He plays bass guitar for fun and as part of his church youth group. He is involved at his church assisting or teaching 1st-5th graders and attends youth group weekly as well. With the spare time left over he enjoys coding video games and learning complex math.
After high school he “plans on attending a 4 year university and if God wills, getting at least a Masters in Computer Engineering. During college he hopes to have lots of experiences and travel. And he says, “He loves to wear bright clothes.”
“Elijah is an excellent young man. Very hard working, helpful and caring toward his peers. He is very calm and reserved, but accomplishes so many great things. I always see him helping someone, working and on task, or being insightful. He is definitely a pleasure to have in class.” — Jason Diodati, THS Science Teacher
“When I heard I was nominated I was surprised and honored … I was playing chess with many of the nominees when we all got summoned to the office so we got to walk together to find out.” — Thomas Choboter
Thomas runs Cross Country for THS and is part of the THS Honors Jazz Band. He likes to take part in many clubs including Rock and Roll Club, Dungeons and Dragons Club, Science Bowl where he served as captain and Game Development Club where he is the “Lead Developer”.
Much of his spare time is dedicated to music. He has played with many musical groups, and is currently part of an acoustic duo and has enjoyed playing at some of our local restaurants. He loves to learn new things about Science and Math and works as a private Math and Computer Science and tutor. He loves to build things and is currently working on a handwriting replication machine and coding his second video game.
“Thomas does such a good job persevering through difficult problems and collaborating with his peers. It is consistent and impressive. Thomas is analytical and logical, yet approaches problems with exuberant creativity.” — Amy Fraser, THS Math Teacher
“When I heard I as nominated I was honored. It was strange that so many of us were in Chess Club at the time.” — Seth Cherry
Seth is involved in the ASB/Leadership class where he serves as the Athletics Commissioner, is a member of the Wingmen, part of the Chess Club and plays basketball on the THS Varsity Basketball team.
When he’s not at school he enjoys spending time with his friends, refereeing rec sports, he coaches and he loves reading.
In the future Seth would like to go to college, earn a degree and work in the engineering field – hopefully electric.
Seth shared that “he is not a big fan of politics” but is just happy to be nominated.
“Seth has an abundance of integrity at such a young age . He does the right thing even when no one is watching. He is a quiet leader who leads from behind and is always kind and very considerate of others.” — Sheila Delisle, THS Staff
“When I heard I was nominated I was surprised, confused, and really quite flattered.” — Clayton Wicka
Clayton is a member of the Chess Club and Dungeons and Dragons. He also has done an amazing job on stage as part of THS Drama productions including the much anticipated Spring musical.
Outside of school he is part of a fencing club and likes to spend his free time with his friends, playing video games or he says, “I like to sleep.”
In the future he hopes to go to a four year university and obtain a degree in either Chemistry, Biology or Biochemistry. He then plans to “get a job and live a standard life”.
“Clayton is a model student all the way around. He is wonderful in class as a chemistry and AP Chemistry student. He works to master the material and thinks outside the box, and he has a passion for learning. I also had the pleasure of seeing the other side of Clayton when he acted in the most recent Drama production. I was completely and totally blown away with his acting skills! I have tremendous respect for the time and effort he put into this play, all while maintaining excellent grades and keeping up with school work. He truly is an incredible individual!” — Lara Miranda, THS Science Teacher
“When I found out I was nominated I was confused, then excited, then honored.” — Miles Martinelli
Miles is heavily involved in the THS Drama department. He acts in the shows, helps build the sets and in the Drama Club. I am also part of the “Wingmen” who help to hype up the crowds at our sporting events.
Off campus he spends a lot of time in rehearsals for the shows THS performs. He shared that as part of his Engineering class he is building a go kart for the Maker’s Fair. Miles also is often seen at THS sporting events going crazy in the crowd.
In the future Miles plans to attend Cuesta for two years and then transfer to either Kentucky State University or Florida. After graduating college he hopes to do some “acting gigs in LA, just for fun”. But for a real job he says he would like to take over the family business.
“Miles Is a breath of fresh air on our campus. He is genuine, approachable, and always smiling. He is exactly what we want THS to represent and I am proud to know him.” — Bre Goetz, THS Counselor