Letters to the Editor

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have served on a panel of my peers and veterans to aid in the process of selecting qualified and special high school upperclassmen having an interest in attending the annual Boys State Week sponsored by the American Legion to be held in June.

In South Carolina we call it the Palmetto Boys State Conference as ours is unique and well-known throughout the country as a finely tuned machine.

How refreshing to once again be part of panel where some open discussion was sought on how our younger candidates felt about the mechanisms of local government as viewed through their young and insightful minds.

I had formerly served on such a panel when a team of Coast Guard Auxiliarists interviewed high school juniors interested in attending a week at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.

I was so impressed with the positivity of the remarks and observations these young men held and demonstrated to my fellow American Legionnaires. The senior members also had a chance to find out how up-to-date our teenagers were with their recognition of matching certain names to certain offices in government, on all levels, as well as some knowledge of recent current events.

There also seemed to be a genuine interest in being selected for this prestigious week in the lives of an upper-level high schooler. Each of the candidates had convincing and persuasive reasons for wanting to be part of this eventful week at Boys State.

The young men all had great credentials and grade point averages. Their involvement in extracurricular, sports and social activities was mind-boggling.

I walked away from my two days of interviews with juniors at North Augusta High School and the gentlemen from Fox Creek High School with a sense that our future government was going to be resting atop some significant shoulders in the few years ahead when so many of them would be leading governments in this country on all levels.

Thank you for a refreshing experience, young men.

Ray Willis