68th Session draws to a conclusion with busiest of days
Mayor Cory Booker provides Keynote Address
As is the case with every session of American Legion Jersey Boys State, our 68th session finished with a flurry of action on Friday. Boys Nation Senators were elected, exams and evaluations completed, graduation certificates and pins handed out, a helicopter demonstration, thousands of hamburgers grilled, keynote speakers, a flag ceremony, awards presented, and many more memories were made, making 2013 our best session ever.
Prior to the Graduation ceremony, the Family Day picnic was held on the mall of Rider University. There, over 3,000 statesmen, staff, Legionnaires and their families gathered to eat, listen to the Jersey Boys State Band perform, view a special Marine Corps pull-up event, watch the final athletic event - the Jersey Boys State "marathon", view a special demonstration by the NJ State Police TEAMS unit and take part in the Final Retreat ceremony. Family Day, an event sponsored by the New Jersey Boys State Foundation, in its 11th year, is a unique opportunity for the statesmen, their parents and friends to meet the friends they made throughout the weeklong ALJBS program, as well as a chance for parents to meet the volunteer staff of ALJBS. Prior to the final retreat ceremony, County 500 - Ridgeway County (Tyler and Polk cities) received the Harold and Lillian Eaton Award for Best County. Ridgeway county was led by Senior City Counselors Gary Fox and Chuck Smith and Mayors Justin Leandre [Tyler City #9] of South Orange (Essex County), Post #70 and Michael Lopez-amaya [Polk City #10] of Clifton (Passaic County), Post #8. The Walter and Evelyn Howell Award for Best City was awarded to Jackson City, led by Senior City Counselor Andrew Bilarcyk and Mayor Lance Golden [Jackson City #6] of Neptune (Monmouth County), Post #266. Each of these cities was awarded a special guidon and commended for their hard work by Director David Bagatelle at the start of graduation.
A week in which Federalist Christopher Biehn [Washington City #1] of Medford (Burlington County), Post #526 was elected the 68th Governor of American Legion Jersey Boys State, and Prajay Tipre [Johnson City #16] of Princeton (Mercer County), Post #148 was elected the 5th Lieutenant Governor of ALJBS, the Feds made it a clean sweep of all the top elected positions at Jersey Boys State for the second consecutive year by electing Aidan Byrnes [Adams City #2] of Red Bank (Monmouth County), Post #338 and Henry Forsythe [Jackson City #6] of Rutherford (Somerset County), Post #12 as the elected representatives of ALJBS to Boys Nation. Nationalist Nicholas DeMarie [Madison City #4] of Mercerville (Mercer County), Post #93 was named First Alternate and Jeffton Pierre [Pierce City #13] of Hamilton (Mercer County), Post #31 was named Second Alternate.
The winners of the final election at ALJBS 2013 were announced by Mayor Cory Booker (pictured above). Mayor Booker, an Alumni of our 1986 program, encouraged all statesmen and their parents to take action in their communities, "Either accept conditions as they are or take responsibility for changing them." Mayor Booker went on to encourage statesmen to believe in themselves, "People think life is about 'fitting-in', but really, it's about standing out." Mayor Booker exemplifies the application of the lessons learned at Boys State through his years of public service.
In addition to the Mayor's comments, the statesmen also heard from 2013-14 American Legion Department of New Jersey State Commander James E. Amos, Jr. (Phillipsburg, Post #457) and US Marine Colonel Jeffrey Dill. The culmination of the day's events was the annual Flag Ceremony, highlighting the many flags in American History.
The Todd Eaton Award went to Fralvin Munoz [Taylor City #11] of Paterson (Passaic County), Post #438. The Eaton Award is given to the delegate who best represents the spirit of the program, who has not won the accolades and races that others have but have given of themselves to help others achieve their goals.
Boys State Lieutenant Governor Prajay Tipre [Johnson City #16] of Princeton (Mercer County), Post #148 was the recipient of the Gordon A. Vreeland award for best delegate. The Vreeland Award is given to the delegate who has best exemplified dedication and achievement in the Boys State program.
Dean of Sports Andrew Roberston of Bordentown, NJ was awarded the 2013 Harry V. Groome Award. The Groome Award is given annually and honors the most outstanding staff member of the all-volunteer staff of Jersey Boys State. Many of the staff volunteer their time in preparation throughout the year during the "off-season" for the weeklong program. Andrew, a 2000 delegate to the ALJBS program from Mullica Hill, has served on staff for 13 consecutive years. 2013 was his first year serving as Dean of the Sports program at ALJBS.
Be sure to check us out on Facebook - we have loaded many of our pictures within our Photo Albums there, as well, our City Photos and more will be loaded on our Picture Page. Our Twitter feed also features some Vine videos taken throughout the week. All Alumni of the program will also receive a complimentary DVD full of photos and videos taken at the session later this summer.
For those interested in returning as a member of our volunteer staff for 2014 and beyond, please click here to submit an Online Junior Assistant counselor application. Candidates will be identified this winter and invited to next year's session June 21-27, 2014.
Congratulations to all our winners and to all our delegates for completing a successful 2013 ALJBS Session!