June 7, 2024 — Two delegates from the 2024 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas have been elected by their peers to represent Kansas Boys State as senators at Boys Nation this summer. The announcement was made this morning during an assembly at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Alexandro Garcia, left, a resident of Olathe, Kan., and a senior-to-be at Spring Hill (Kan.) High School, and, Aidan Lessard, right, a resident of Leavenworth, Kan., and a senior-to-be at Lansing (Kan.) High School, will attend Boys Nation, Friday, July 19 through Saturday, July 27, at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. Garcia’s brother, Adiel Garcia II, who graduated from Spring Hill High School in May and served as a Kansas Boys State city counselor this year, was one of two Kansas representatives to Boys Nation last year.

Andrew Rodriquez, a resident of Howard, Kan., and a senior-to-be at West Elk High School, and Zheyun “Karl” Shan, a resident of Wichita, Kan., and a senior-to-be at Wichita East High School, were selected as first alternate and second alternate, respectively.

At Boys Nation, Garcia and Lessard will join representatives from each of the 49 Boys State programs across the country (Hawaii does not have a Boys State program) to receive an education on the structure and function of federal government. At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates. Senators also learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules.

Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions, and nominating and electing a president and vice president. The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, national shrines, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states.

High school students from across the State of Kansas are participating in the 2024 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas, which started on June 2 and ends tomorrow (Saturday, June 10), at Kansas State University in Manhattan. This is the program’s 32nd consecutive session at KSU and 86th overall. The Kansas Boys State program includes students who have just completed their junior year of high school (will be seniors in the fall) and sophomore year of high school (will be juniors in the fall).

The objective of the ALBSK is to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to community, state and nation. Kansas Boys State provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy.