American Legion Jersey Boys State

American Legion Jersey Boys State
A Week That Shapes the Future

ALJBS mourns loss of longtime staff member Dottie Bonnaviat

Longtime ALJBS staff member Dorothy "Dottie" Bonnaviat and Trustee William "Bill" Rakestraw passed away this weekend.

Bonnaviat served in the Boys State Office for more than 25 years. Her kindness towards others was well-known. She served under multiple directors and Deans of Administration, always doing the hidden work with graciousness.

Rakestraw served on the Board of Trustees for many years. He was a Life Member of American Legion Post 348 in Neptune Township and held the positions of National Executive Committeman (2005-2009), Alternate National Executive Committeeman (2003-2005), Department Commander (1996-1997), Department Vice-Commander (1995-1996).

"Dottie and Bill were part of the Boys State Program fabric," said Director David Bagatelle. "Both Dottie and Bill found places they could serve and worked tirelessly. Their kindness and dedication helped made our program great."

Bonnaviat's funeral mass will be Thursday, August 30, at St. Margaret's Church in Morristown, NJ. Visitation will be from 9:00-10:45am, with the funeral following at 11:00am. Rakestraw's funeral will be held on Tuesday, September 4, at the Chapel in Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. The funeral will begin at 11:00am.

About Us

Held at Rider University every year beginning on Father's Day, ALJBS has a strong tradition of education, patriotism and excellence in the development of tomorrow's leaders at our week-long hands-on program.

Our mission

To develop good citizens in the United States of America by inspiring the youth of New Jersey to take a more active and intelligent interest in the operation of our State and Nation and in the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship and to understand the sacrifices made by our veterans to preserve our nation and way of life.