Boys State Students at UA Celebrate 75th Anniversary, Take Part in Community Service
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama and the West Alabama community are welcoming some 560 high school seniors to campus June 10-16 for the 75th annual American Legion Boys State convention that will include a community service component to improve parks and walking trails across Tuscaloosa.
Alabama Boys State, a leadership and government training program, is one of the highest honors granted to high school senior boys. Students from around the state are chosen based on their demonstration of leadership, hard work, strong morals and motivation in school and community activities.
For the past 75 years, the American Legion has sponsored Alabama Boys State. More than 34,000 rising high school seniors from every community in Alabama have come to learn about citizenship, leadership and local and state government.
In a partnership with the City of Tuscaloosa and the Tuscaloosa Parks and Recreation Authority, Boys State students will work in several area parks to upgrade the facilities as an effort to provide the community improved outdoor recreation.
On Monday, June 11-Thursday, June 14, from 3-5 p.m., the students will provide community service by working at McKinney, Monnish, Kaulton and Sokol Parks and along the Pettus Randall Walking Trail. Their work will consist of landscaping, painting, clearing trails and other tasks.
On Friday, June 15, at 3 p.m. they will have a community service celebration with Tuscaloosa city officials at Sokol Park (Watermelon Road entrance) with a flag football game as the featured finale event.
The UA Community Service Center and office of the dean of students assist state organizers with the event.
“The Community Service Center is thrilled to once again be part of the Boys State experience by providing an opportunity for the participants to engage is a meaningful project that will teach them the value of giving back to their community and that will benefit so many parts of the Tuscaloosa community as well,” says Dr. Wahnee Sherman, director of the UA Community Service Center.
Retired Judge Pete Johnson of Birmingham, longtime director of Alabama Boys State, says the program instills a desire to serve and shapes the young men into better citizens.
“It has been my honor to work with the American Legion Alabama Boys State for the past 50 years. Boys State gives young leaders the opportunity to learn how their government works hands on. Boys State inspires these young men to make their state and nation better,” Johnson said.
“There are more than 34,000 former Boys Staters who have gone on to serve their state and nation. A few of the prominent former Alabama Boys State delegates include Jim Sumner, director of Alabama Ethics Commission, former Gov. Fob James, Gov. Robert Bentley, Tim Jones, CEO Apple Computer, Mike Warren, CEO Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Dr. Gilbert Melson Jr. of Florence and many successful farmers, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, bankers and members of all professions.
“Boys Staters have gone on to serve in the military, many making the ultimate sacrifice. James V. Thompson, the first governor of Alabama Boys State from Sylacauga was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1944, in France in World War II. Alabama Boys State’s motto is ‘We Build Citizenship’ and we do!” Johnson said.
Throughout the week, the students will also hear from civic and community leaders with guest speakers, all in Morgan Auditorium, including Birmingham Mayor William Bell on Sunday, June 10, 7 p.m., Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox on Tuesday, June 12, 9 a.m., and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday, June 14, 1:30 p.m.
For more information about the 2012 Alabama Boys State convention, including a complete schedule, go to http://alboysstate.org.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.
CONTACT: Kristi Payne or Linda Hill, UA Media Relations, 205/348-8325, email@example.com
SOURCE: Dr. Wahnee Sherman, UA Community Service Center, 205/348-5722, firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Tim Hebson, UA Dean of Students, 205/348-8237, 205/534-9156, email@example.com