Local Mt. Laurel students participate in 73rd session of American Legion Jersey Boys State

More than 325 communities were represented at week-long learn-by-doing leadership program.

Last week, 883 high school rising-seniors from New Jersey attended the 73rd session of American Legion Jersey Boys State held annually at Rider University, including five residents from Mt. Laurel.

Residents included Ondra Kinder and Will Mercado of Legion Post No. 526, Nicholas Morris of Legion Post No. 294, Joseph Punchello of Legion Post No. 372 and Richard Adams of Legion Post No. 72.

“In our 73rd year, we are very happy to welcome 883 of New Jersey’s brightest leaders to Jersey Boys State,” ALJBS Executive Director David Bagatelle said. “American Legion Jersey Boys State serves as a leadership incubator for our state’s top students who will become our political, community, military, and business leaders.”

Students are afforded the opportunity to govern and interact with their peers from across New Jersey as they run their own mythical 51st state from June 17–22.

Within 24 hours of their arrival to ALJBS, students will have formed 18 mock city governments and two political parties to elect a mayor and city council to guide their city throughout the week. Each student has an opportunity to participate in the political party process by running for office, participating in friendly debate and voting in elections, among many other events.

By the end of the week, the delegation will elect a new ALJBS Governor, Lieutenant Governor and two Boys Nation Senators, who will attend a national program in Washington, D.C. this summer.

The college credit-qualified program, sponsored by the American Legion Department of New Jersey, is a preeminent learn-by-doing leadership program. Students are typically chosen and sponsored by a local American Legion Post and other community-based organizations.