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Herricks Seniors Grow from Girls and Boys State Experiences

Herricks Seniors Grow from Girls and Boys State Experiences

Three Herricks High School seniors attended weeklong Girls and Boys State programs during this past summer and had the opportunity to gain governmental experience. Christopher Soo participated in Boys State, sponsored by the American Legion and held at SUNY Morrisville, while Pranjal Jain and Amber Wiqas took part in the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State at The College at Brockport, SUNY. Both are said to be among the most respected learning programs in the country.

According to the American Legion, Boys State participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training centers on the structure of city, county and state governments and involves legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. Girls State, as defined by the American Legion Auxiliary, strives to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. Attendees learn about the democratic process and the various operations of the government. Students take on roles as government leaders and campaign in mock parties. 

Christopher heard about the program from a friend and was also recommended by Board of Education President Juleigh Chin. Boys State involves a rigorous regimen – attendees stayed with Marines and took part in marching and chants, while also holding mock elections and passing bills. Christopher was elected as a senator and focused on roads and transportation legislation, redistributing financing for road restoration and construction. He recently committed to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and credits Boys State for giving him the courage and confidence to pursue this next endeavor.

“I learned what a more structured lifestyle is like,” Christopher said. “It was an experience to live in such a strict regimen. Being a [Boys State] senator really opens your eyes to what it’s like being in politics and makes you a more well-informed citizen.”

Pranjal and Amber learned of the Girls State opportunity from a teacher, as well as Class of 2016 graduate Samantha Aloysius, who attended Girls Nation in 2015. Pranjal served on the Education Committee and Amber was involved in the Criminal Justice Committee. They also acted as senators, created mock bills, passed legislation and ran debates.

“I have more of an appreciation for the work done by the government,” Amber said.

All three students also noted the impact of meeting and working with other students throughout New York.

“We got to meet a lot of people, which was very eye-opening,” Pranjal said.

“It was good to see how other people live,” Amber said. “Their lives are so different than ours.”


Girls and Boys