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American Legion, Women's Auxiliary honors area youth

By By Janet Little Cooper
The American Legion Post 90 and the American Legion Women's Auxiliary have said there is no better way to assure the survival of our republic than to train today's young people in the ideals and objectives of American government.
Because of this the state of Alabama American Legions and Women's Auxiliary formed a Boy's and Girl's State 69 years ago to give high school students the opportunity to be educated in the practical aspects of citizenship and government.
Last Tuesday night, this year's recipients of the Boy's and Girl's State Scholarship presented by the American Legion and Women's Auxiliary, were honored with dinner and a certificate of completion.
"Each year we ask the counselors at Escambia Academy and Escambia High School to select a couple of outstanding young men to attend Boy's State," American Legion First Vice Commander Jim Forte said. "We solicit donations throughout the year to pay the tuition for the week-long camp the boys attend. This year we had four boys, two from each school."
Girl's State candidates are chosen in the same manner according to Women's Auxiliary president Mary Stanley.
"The teachers and counselors screen the girls for us and narrow the field down," Stanley said. "It primarily goes by grades, but those are usually so close that it all boils down to the interview phase where we ask them different questions. We had two girls this year."
According to program literature, to attend Boy's or Girl's State is a place of high honor for high school students. The purpose of these programs is to teach the students how the political process works not only in the state of Alabama, but on a city, county, state and national level as well.
While at State, the students are placed in political parties and are responsible for writing their own platforms followed by a nomination and election. Students find themselves doing exactly the same chores as done by real elected office holders in their every day work.
The 2006 Boy's State representatives from Atmore were: Justin Gates, ECHS; Brandon Marshall, ECHS; Stephen Lambeth, EA and Andrew Howell, EA.
The 2006 Girl's State representatives from Atmore were: Rachel Ellis, EA and Jordan Smith, ECHS.
Also recognized during the Tuesday evening banquet were Junior Auxiliary Girls who participated in the Junior Auxiliary Leadership Conference. They were: Tori Gipson and Sasha Forester.
Niki Everette was recognized as the Junior Auxiliary Member of the Year for Post 90 also.