Medina American Legion Post 202 is sponsoring 16 high school students at Buckeye Boys State, which is underway at Miami University through Sunday.
Buckeye Boys State gives more than 1,200 high school boys an opportunity to learn about local, state and national government in a hands-on way. Buckeye Girls State also is being held this week at the University of Mount Union in Alliance and about two dozen local students are delegates.
Buckeye Boys State Trustee David Lofy said he was able to raise enough money to send
16 boys this year, three more than last year, to the eight-day program.
“I have been so lucky because we have some generous organizations here in Medina, and it is just fantastic that I can do this,” Lofy said.
The program costs $300 per boy, which is paid by the sponsoring post.
Lofy said the selection process begins with a visit to Medina, Buckeye and Highland high schools, as well as the Medina County Career Center.
“The teachers and counselors will set up a time and a place where I meet with the kids that are interested,” he said.
Lofy said he then reviews the applications submitted by the schools as well as home-schooled students before hosting interviews.
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell, Medina County Juvenile/Probate Judge Kevin Dunn, Medina Finance Director Keith Dirham and Medina Schools Human Resources Director Jim Shields all participate in the interview process.
“I ask the judges, ‘Is there anybody who you think is not qualified?’ And what I have been receiving from all the schools are kids that are very highly motivated and qualified,” Lofy said.
Lofy said after registering this week at Miami University in Oxford, the students were divided into 29 “cities” within nine “counties.” Students then were elected to fill government positions like governor, lieutenant governor and sheriff.
“We take it seriously. These kids want to learn,” Lofy said.
Local delegates sponsored by Post 202 are:
- Eric Bertulies — Medina High;
- Alexander Demagall — Buckeye High;
- Samuel Holtzapple — Highland High;
- Kevin Horrigan — Medina High;
- Jeff Hurst — Medina High;
- Kotaro Kojima — home-schooled;
- Jonathan Kubicki — Highland High;
- Trevor Kuehn — Medina High;
- Quade Mainzer — Highland High;
- Robert Olszewski — Medina High;
- Jared Rhodes — Medina High;
- Zachary Ridler — Buckeye High;
- Alex Rohlke — Medina High;
- Grant Stuart — Medina High;
- Brady Vickerts — Buckeye High;
- Brandon Yu — Highland High.
Lofy said the program was founded in 1936, with Ohio being the third state to participate after Indiana and Illinois.
Eligibility requirements include boys who have completed 11th grade and have at least one semester left prior to graduation.
Notable graduates of the program include former Ohio Speaker of the House William Batchelder, and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Terence Henricks, Carl Walz, Michael Gernhardt and Gregory Johnson.
Similar to Buckeye Boys State, candidates for Buckeye Girls State are chosen through an interview process conducted by local American Legion auxiliary units.
Local Girls State delegates and American Legion sponsors are:
- Anna Alfano, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Brooke Burton, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Sarah Cain, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Madison Fioritto, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Bailey Freeland, Cloverleaf High, Post 523;
- Mia Gambaccini, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Paige Gibeault, Medina High, Post 202;
- Rebeccah Gray, Medina High, Post 202;
- Cassidy Green, Brunswick High; Post 234;
- August Heath, Buckeye High, Post 202;
- Mckenna Kilbane, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Erin Lynn, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Mara Mack, Medina High, Post 202;
- Cecilia Mainzer, Highland High, Post 202;
- Mckenzie Mayo, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Melina Melik, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Arianna Mitchell, Medina High, Post 202;
- Taylor Nagy, Wadsworth High, Post 170;
- Kristin O’Deens, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Morgan Palcisko, Buckeye High, Post 202;
- Hailie Payne, Medina High, Post 202;
- Claire Schmeller, Medina High, Post 202;
- Anne-Marie Shimko, Medina High, Post 202;
- Nerissa Smith, Brunswick High, Post 234;
- Abigail Speckman, Medina High, Post 202;
- Grace Winrod, Cloverleaf High, Post 523;
- Marraya Youngblood, Wadsworth High, Post 170.