An accomplished group of high school students this week will fill Radford University's campus as part of the 72nd session of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia.
This is the second consecutive year the university has hosted the weeklong citizenship and leadership action program, attended this year by nearly 800 high school juniors.
Dressed uniformly in blue and white, the young men filed Sunday into Bondurant Auditorium where they were welcomed to campus by Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle.
"I think it is fitting that all of you gathered here this week, the young men of Virginia Boys State, to be here with us for what I can assure you will be an unforgettable experience," Kyle said. "You will be learning about something special that none of us should take for granted – and that is citizenship."
The young men, each selected by local American Legion Posts, will spend the next five days immersed in the principles of United States government. They will participate in mock legislative sessions and court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs. Some of the top leaders in Virginia state and local government, including Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, will be among the speakers to provide participants with valuable lessons in politics.
Kyle reminded the attendees of the tremendous responsibility bestowed upon them as representatives of the Boys State program.
"As I frequently share with our Radford University students, success in life is based on creating opportunities for yourself and taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you," Kyle said.
She concluded her remarks with an inspiring story about RU graduate Patrick Horan. Horan entered the United States Army immediately upon graduating from RU in 1997 and, as an Army captain, was injured in 2007 during a combat mission in Baghdad. Kyle had the opportunity to meet with Horan last year during an alumni event on campus.