FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 25, 2002
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MISSOURI BOYS STATE NAMES 2002 BOYS NATION DELEGATES
(WARRENSBURG, MO) -- Two Missouri high school students are scheduled to meet President George W. Bush in the Rose Garden as participants in The American Legion Boys Nation program this month. The American Legion Boys State of Missouri named Matthew E. Simpson of Springfield and Nathan W. Skelley of Joplin as their 2002 delegates to the American Legion Boys Nation program to be held July 19 - 27, 2002 on the campus of Marymount University in Arlington, VA. Simpson and Skelley were chosen from the 943 young men who attended the Missouri Boys State program during the week of June 15 - 22, 2002 at Central Missouri State University. Simpson will be a senior at Kickapoo High School and Skelley will be senior at Joplin High School during the 2002 - 2003 school year.
Both young men will participate as Senators in a mock congressional system and take a practical approach to the study and operation of our federal government, while participating in events in and around Washington, D.C. Boys State programs from around the country will send two participants each to the Boys Nation program this year.
Former President Bill Clinton credits the Boys Nation program with inspiring him to enter politics after meeting then President John F. Kennedy when he was a participant at Boys Nation in 1963. During his two terms as President, Clinton hosted the Boys Nation participants in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The 2002 delegates are currently scheduled for a visit to the White House during their visit this month.
Two alternates were chosen to represent Missouri in the event that either of the delegates are unable to attend. The first alternate is Aaron J. Abernathy of Columbia and Calvin J. Harris II of St. Louis was chosen second alternate. The selections for Boys Nation were made by a panel of Missouri Boys State staff members who interviewed each candidate individually. Missouri Boys State is a citizenship and leadership training program held annually in June and sponsored by the Missouri American Legion. This year marked the 63rd session of the Missouri Boys State program.