By SHERRY DIGMON
American Legion Boys and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State are great opportunities for high school juniors to learn leadership and citizenship. Both took place in June at Troy State University.
This year, the Atmore Legion sponsored six boys – Christian Crook, Escambia Academy; Hasten Dean, Escambia County High School; Aaron Huggins, Escambia Academy; Charles McGill, Escambia Academy; Bryan Patterson, Flomaton High School; Christopher Spann, Flomaton High School.
The Legion Auxiliary sponsored three girls – Morgan Dubose, W.S Neal Elementary; Kadence Kolbe, Escambia Academy; Si’Mya Sims, Escambia County High School.
As is customary, the Atmore Legion and Auxiliary invite delegates to attend a recognition in their honor and talk about their experiences. This year’s event was held Thursday evening, August 28, in the Legion Hall.
None of the Girls State delegates attended the dinner.
Three of the six Boys State boys attended. Following are some of their comments.
Charles McGill – It was an interesting week. I felt something change. I felt leadership embodied in me with words.” He said the speakers were amazing. The first night was rough, he said, but by the end of the week, nobody wanted to leave. “It was a great honor.”
To two young people in the audience, he encouraged them to try to go to Boys and Girls State – “Get it, run with it, and don’t look back.”
Hasten Dean – “We had good speeches, and I made a lot of great friends.” Hasten ran for county commission at Boys State. He thanked the Legion for sending him, and he thanked Susie Kirk, who was then counselor at Escambia County High School.
Aaron Huggins – “I want to thank the Legion. Boys State was amazing. I thought there would be about 40 kids. It blew my mind when I found out there were more than 500. I met amazing friends, and we still keep in contact.”
Members of the Legion and Auxiliary who participated in the program were Legion Commander Dave Graham, Legion Adjutant Paul Chason, Legion Chairman of the Boys State Program Billy Elder, Chaplain Jack Wright, Auxiliary Vice President Nancy Karrick, and Auxiliary members who served dinner.
Among guests attending were Escambia County High School assistant principals Greg Brock and Terries Lett; Atmore Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Lassiter; Sheriff Heath Jackson; Escambia County Board of Education members Cindy Jackson and Sherry Digmon; Larry Meeks, District 34 Commander, Andalusia; and Dale Ash, Legion supporter.