The 71st session of Badger Boys State is being held at Ripon College this week.
The annual week-long program of The American Legion Department of Wisconsin will bring together hundreds of high school seniors from across Wisconsin to create a 51st state known as Badger Boys State.
Local participants include David Hahn, Wade Roberts, Grant Roth and Jordan Stombaugh of Platteville High School; Mitchel Burkholder, Jason Derby and Austin Kilburg of Cuba City High School; and Casey Johannesen, Dustin Klaas, Jordan Olson, Shawn Soman and Kyle Trevorrow of Iowa–Grant High School.
Badger Boys State participants will develop their own party platforms, pass local ordinances and utilize a state patrol and judicial system to enforce the laws and constitution of the 51st state. Additionally, citizens choose from a series of schools of instruction such as: law, peace officer, leadership, public speaking, parliamentary procedure, and lobbying and campaign strategies, among others. Badger Boys State citizens also have an opportunity to participate in a variety of team sports that compete throughout the week, a band and choir, and write for the Badger Bugle Citizen, the official newspaper of Badger Boys State.
Planned highlights of this year’s session include guest speakers, Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, international reporter Charles Wiley, Brig. Gen. Scott Legwold, and U.S. Attorney James Santelle, among others.
Badger Boys State citizens are selected by local high schools throughout the state based on their qualifications as good students, exhibiting strong leadership skills and in the top third of their class. Previous Badger Boys State graduates include Walker (1985), Santelle (1975), Gov. Scott McCallum (1967), U.S. Thomas Petri (R–Fond du Lac), jazz singer Al Jarreau, actor Daniel J. Travanti (all in 1957), former Gov. Martin Schreiber (1956), and Platteville Journal editor Steve Prestegard (1982).