Boys State delegates prepare for ‘citizenship training’ this June


Jenny Marcinkowski

Carlstadt delegates include (from left to right) Anthony Lenoy, Alessandro Buffalino-Benameur & Dylan Caughey. East Rutherford delegates (from left to right) include Mario Barsoum and Dylan Valenzuela.

Carlstadt juniors Anthony Lenoy, Alessandro Buffalino-Benameur, and Dylan Caughey and East Rutherford juniors Mario Barsoum and Dylan Valenzuela have been selected to attend the 74th Annual American Legion Jersey Boys State (ALJBS). This year’s program will be held at Rider University from June 16 through 21.

The main purpose of attending Boys State is to give students the opportunity to further comprehend the rights and responsibilities of an American citizen and voter, as well as illustrate the importance of democracy.

“I want to gain a first-hand understanding about the process of election and the chain of command throughout government and become educated in some strategies that are used in order to achieve those positions,” said Barsoum.

“The event will teach me a sense of maturity, responsibility, and show me what it is like to be a government leader,” added Caughey.

Whether it is participating in political organizations or running for office, Boys State aims to empower tomorrow’s leaders. The program encourages students to run for a political office at either a city, county, or state level. Each student is required to attend his political party’s convention to vote candidates in office.

Becton High School’s candidates were informed of their selection by Carlstadt resident, former Becton science teacher, and American Legion Post 69 member, Mr. Walter Siri, and by East Rutherford resident and Adjutant and Chaplain of American Legion Post 67, Mr. Paul Weiss.

All of the students attending were elected by their teachers to participate in the program, and prior to being chosen as a delegate or an alternate, the application process also required an interview.

I have heard that it is an amazing experience.”

— Dylan Valenzuela

“I would say the hardest part of Boys State will be choosing whether to run for a lead role or support a delegate who wants to become a leader. It is similar to a voting process with propaganda involved. If I choose to run for office, I will have to convince many on why I should be the town mayor, governor, or president within 6-7 days,” said Valenzuela.

The juniors feel that attending this program will broaden their understanding of government and the importance of their role within society. The students all mutually agreed that the week-long event will also prepare them for college since, while at Rider University, they will be ‘dorming’ and essentially getting a college-like experience.

“I have heard that it is an amazing experience,” stated Valenzuela.

All participants must attend an orientation meeting on May 29 at the American Legion Post in Elmwood Park.