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2009 Session Closes with Keynote speakers, Senators elected

US Senator Robert Menendez and Gov. Candiate Chris Christie speak

Director Bagatelle flanked by Lt. Governor Dylan Kaplan and Governor Eric Wei

In a tight race, the first "ticket" of Governor and Lt. Governor in the State of NJ went to Nationalist Governor Eric Wei of Moorestown (Burlington County), Post #42 and the first elected Lieutenant Governor Dylan J. Kaplan of Jackson (Ocean County), Post #504. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon and by Thursday night Eric and Dylan had filled their cabinet with supporters and opponents alike (click here to view the appointments). Thursday ended with a celebration in each city where awards were given and the lessons learned were shared among each group of delegates.

In the last action-packed day of the 64th session, a political election and a foot race were won, Troopers rode the campus by horse, awards were presented, and the closing ceremony was highlighted by 2 Keynote speakers. The day began before 6am for some statesman and most delegates left with their parents from Rider University by 5pm.

After an early breakfast, the four Boys Nation Senator candidates gave their speeches at a general assembly before being asked questions by the panel of press and others from the floor. Soon after, delegates were back in their city to finish packing before Family Day picnic began.

Family Day is an annual picnic sponsored by the NJ Boys State Foundation that began in 2003 in which delegates, their family and their city counselors gather together around the Rider campus mall to enjoy the food and entertainment. All are within feet of the Jersey Boys State Band who entertain during celebration as well as the final athletic event of the week, the ALJBS Championship Race. The celebration this year included a small demonstration by the NJ State Police K-9 and horse units. As well, there was a flag retreat ceremony prior to the main event of the day, graduation in the Alumni Gym.

Prior to the ceremony, Halsey County (Washington and Adams cities) received the Harold and Lillian Eaton Award for Outstanding County, led by Senior City Counselors Shane Mata and Ty Clark, and Mayors Vikas Bhatt of Parsippany (Morris County), Post #249 and Ryan Catley of Bordentown (Burlington), Post #26. The Walter and Evelyn Howell Award for Outstanding City went to Taylor City #11, led by Senior City Counselor James Hendershot and Mayor Parth Parikh of Parsippany (Morris), Post #451. These cities were honored with special guidons prior to graduation and commended for their hard work by Director David Bagatelle as the graduation ceremonies opened.

Speeches followed from the American Legion NJ Department Commander Bob Phillips and co-keynote speakers, US Senator and former Boys State delegate Robert Menendez, followed a short time later by former US Attorney, 1979 Boys Nation Senator and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Christopher J. Christie. During the remainder of the ceremony, staff member Gordon Vreeland was honored for his service as the first staff member to ever serve 50 consecutive years. Commondatations were read by the American Legion and one by the NJ State Senate. Additionally, the first ever Gordon A. Vreeland award, given to the Outstanding delegate of the week, was presented to Liguo Shan of Lake Hoptacong (Morris County), Post #245. Derek Boyle of Kearny (Hudson County), Post #99 was awarded the Todd Eaton Award and scholarship. 2006 ALJBS Governor Michael Gaus presented the Smith-LiCausi award to 2009 Governor Eric Wei of Moorestown (Burlington County), Post #42. Afterward, the results from the morning election for Boys Nation Senator were announced: Nicholas Perkons of Kendall Park (Middlesex County), Post #458 and Kevin Trainer of Moorestown (Burlington), Post #156 will be headed to Washington D.C. as representatives of NJ July 17-25, 2009. James E. Jones, Jr. of Woodbury (Gloucester), Post #133 and Alec P. Schaffer of Ringoes (Hunterdon), Post #159 were named alternates.

For those interested in returning to ALJBS as a member of the staff and were unable to complete the application during the week, click here to apply.

originally posted June 27, 2009