PAOLA — Four Paola High School junior boys and one junior girl will be learning about citizenship and government next week during Boys and Girls State events.

PHS juniors Dylan Newton, Creighton Markovich, Preston Martin and Mason Escobar will be attending Boys State June 2-7, and their junior classmate Krista Haley will be attending Girls State during the same time period.

The 82nd session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy will take place June 2-7 at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

The American Legion’s Boys State program gives participants a chance to learn about leadership by becoming a mock, or virtual, government. This technique, referred to as learning by doing, was the goal Legionnaires Hayes Kennedy and Harrold L. Card wanted to reach when they founded Boys State in Illinois in 1935, according to www.kansas

Kansas was the fifth state in the country to adopt the program. The first session was held June 6-12 in 1937 at Wichita University, which was later renamed Wichita State University. In 1963, the program was moved to the University of Kansas, and in 1991, it moved again to Kansas State University, according to the website.

Boys State is designed to help the participants:

Distinguish themselves in the competition for college admissions and scholarships;

  • expand their leadership and problem-solving skills;
  • get a head start in their senior government class;
  • establish lifelong friendships.

The 77th annual Girls State event will take place June 2-7 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

The purpose of Girls State is to inculcate a sense of responsibility to community, state and nation. Girls State is a practical application of Americanism and good citizenship. It is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical program designed to teach American youths that democracy belongs to them, according to a news release.

Girls will elect their own city, county and state officials. They will have their own city councils or commissions, county commissions, Senate and House of Representatives, where they will present and debate their own bills, resolutions and ordinances.

They will also have city and county government problems to solve, according to the release.

The American Legion Auxiliary is the sponsoring organization of Sunflower Girls State, and Paola Rotary Club is another contributor.

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or

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