Monday, August 11, 2014
The Pawleys Island’s American Legion post – one of the smallest in the state – celebrated its big success with the Palmetto Boys State program July 31, honoring its initial sponsored attendee and lauding the three high school rising seniors it sponsored this year.
Also lauded was Blake Marsh of Waccamaw High School, who was given the Post 197 Academic Award.
In 2013, the post, with just 23 members, sponsored Waccamaw High School junior Jack Monroe, who went on to be elected chief justice of the Supreme Court during the weeklong program held at Anderson University.
En route to his election, Monroe tallied the highest score ever on the bar exam.
Boys State, a highly selective activity, allows students to get an up close and personal look at how the political system works with the campers assigned to one of two political parties.
They develop party platforms, campaign for office – from municipal posts all the way up to governor – hold elections and in general learn how government works from the ground up.
In addition, three schools run during the week, give the boys training in politics, the law and media.
Also during the week, there’s opportunities to compete in quiz bowls, band, orchestra and other activities. In addition, there’s school – daily classes complete with a test.
Each day of the camp, the youngsters hear from top political officials.
“We get to spend time with the best 17-year-olds in the state,” said Monroe, who is heading to Wofford College this year, thanks to his participation in the program.
About the only thing missing from the activity is sleep. “I think I got about 15 hours of sleep the entire week,” Monroe said to laughs.
But then he turned serious. “Without Boys State, I would not have been able to attend Wofford,” he said, in thanking the organization for its support. “I would not have 1,000 brothers.” Monroe also received the Boys State scholarship from Wofford.
The program emphasizes courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service, explained Post 197 Commander Greg W. Hill.
Hill said that because the Pawleys Island post is relatively new, its participation in Boys State also is new.
“But it’s growing,” he said. The post sponsors students from Waccamaw High School and Lowcountry Preparatory.
Representing the post this year were Davis Eddy and Jason Stacy of Waccamaw High School and Lyndon Manning of Lowcountry Prep.
Grady Richardson, the District 19 American Legion commander, praised the participants during a dinner at Nosh. “Don’t give up,” he told them “Don’t give up on this county, the state or your country.”