The 74th session of American Legion Jersey Boys State closed Friday with the graduation ceremony. Boys Nation Senators were elected and announced, exams were completed, graduation certificates were handed out, awards were presented, and families, statesmen, and staff members enjoyed lunch together.
Before the graduation ceremony, ALJBS hosted Family Day. Over 3,000 statesmen, their families and friends, Legionnaires, and staff members ate and took part in a final Retreat ceremony. Family Day, now in its 17th year, is sponsored by the New Jersey Boys State Foundation and provides a unique opportunity for statesmen, their parents, and their friends to meet and interact with the friends they've made during the weeklong ALJBS program as well as the volunteer staff of ALJBS.
During Family Day, the Harold and Lillian Eaton Award was given to Vandenberg County, led by County Counselor Andrew Bilarczyk, Senior City Counselors Aymeric Vincenti and Justin Hunts and Mayors Isaac Greenspan [Taylor City #11] of Ocean Township (Monmouth County), Post #346 and Blake Wood [Fillmore City #12] of Princeton Junction (Mercer County), Post #76. The Walter and Evelyn Howell Award for Best City was given to Madison City, led by Senior City Counselor Malik Wright and Mayor Phalgun Garimella [Madison City #4] of West Windsor (Mercer County), Post #76. Director Bagatelle commended the city and county for their hard work throughout the week and awarded each a special guidon to carry in at graduation.
Graduation was highlighted by a speech from U.S. Senator and ALJBS Alumnus Bob Menendez. Menendez stressed the value of the program and encouraged the delegates to continue pursuing great things. "This is a unique and fulfilling accomplishment you will remember all of your life," said Menendez. "I always remember it."
At the end of his speech, Menendez announced Ashrit Verma [Pierce City #13] of Moorestown (Burlington County), Post #42 and Kyle Quinn [Washington City #1] of Montville (Morris County), Post #43 as the ALJBS representatives to Boys Nation. Albert Joseph [Polk City #10] of Hackettstown (Warren County), Post #164 and Rohan Kohli [Fillmore City #12] of Plainsboro (Middlesex County), Post #76 were announced as alternates.
The Todd Eaton Award was presented to Ravi D'Elia [Polk City #10] of Hamilton (Mercer County), Post #31. The Eaton Award is presented to the delegate who best represents the spirit of the ALJBS program, who has not won the accolades and races that others have but has selflessly given of himself to help others achieve their goals.
The Gordon A. Vreeland Award for best delegate was presented to Oliver Adler [Adams City #2] of Cherry Hill (Camden County), Post #372. The Vreeland Award is presented to the delegate who has best exemplified dedication and achievement in the Boys State program. Gordon Vreeland, who served at 52 consecutive sessions of Boys State, made a special return to present the award.
The Samsung Scholarship was presented to Andrew Pasco [Washington City #1] of Haddonfield (Camden County), Post #72. The Scholarship is given to one New Jersey delegate each year, who is then entered into the scholarship pool with delegates from all other Boys State programs.
Dean of Education Greg Wilson was awarded the Harry V. Groome Award. The Groome Award is given annually and honors the most outstanding staff member of the all-volunteer staff of American Legion Jersey Boys State. Many of the staff volunteer their time in preparation throughout the year during the "off-season" for the weeklong program. Greg spearheaded the accreditation process for Boys State, which allowed more than three hundred fifty statesmen to pursue college credit for their time at ALJBS this year.
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. Be sure to check out all of our Daily Update Videos, and other videos highlighting our amazing speakers this year including Charles Wiley. Our Instagram has all your favorite photos and our Twitter feed features videos and other content as well. All Alumni of the 2019 program will receive a complimentary yearbook full of photos taken at the session later this summer.
For those interested in returning as a member of our volunteer staff for 2020 and beyond, please click here to submit a Junior Assistant counselor application. Candidates will be identified this winter and invited to next year's session June 21-26, 2020.
Congratulations to all our winners and to all our statesmen for completing a successful 2019 ALJBS Session!