Tennessee American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. This year, Boys State is an interactive, virtual-based program where each delegate participates in local, county, and state government education and activities.
About TN Boys State
American Legion Boys State has been a program of The American Legion since 1935 when it organized to counter the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first American Legion Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State.
At American Legion Boys State, participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs.
High school juniors are selected by local American Legion Posts to attend the program. In most cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.
American Legion Boys State is currently conducted in 49 Departments of The American Legion. Hawaii does not conduct a program. As separate corporations, American Legion Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every American Legion Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.
Thank You to Our 2021 Presenters
The Tennessee American Legion and Tennessee Tech sincerely appreciate the delegate's participation in the Boys State program and extend our gratitude to the presenters for sharing their time and expertise with the delegates.
Listed in order of appearance during the week:
- State Senator Paul Bailey
- State Representative Ryan Williams
- TBI Director David Rausch
- Ron Borden, Army ROTC Department - Golden Eagle Battalion
- District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway
- District Public Defender Craig Fickling
- Criminal Court Judge Gary McKenzie
- SSG Kelly Deming, Tennessee National Guard
- Chief Operating Officer Brandon Gibson, Governor's Office
- John Mark Windle, State Representative
- Vice Mayor of Cookeville Laurin Wheaton
- Putnam County Commissioner Ben Rodgers
- Oratorical Chairman Paul Gish, The American Legion, Dept. of Tennessee
- Tennessee Tech Admissions Counselors Mason Hilliard & Sara Searle
We also appreciate the video greetings to the delegates from:
- Tennessee Governor Bill Lee
- Tennessee Tech President Philip Oldham
- Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins, Tennessee Supreme Court
- Speaker Cameron Sexton, Tennessee House of Representatives