Each year the local American Legion unit sends area students to participate in Boys State and Girls State. This year’s event is being held at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
Rhoda Bethard is the Boys and Girls State Rep for Post 118 of the American Legion and Auxiliary. Bethard said “This summer the post is sending Kyle Cason from Riverdale and Logan Smith from Central School to Boys State. The Auxiliary is sending Charli Williams and Teana Eason, both students at Red River High School, to Girls State. One additional participant was selected, however they were unable to attend.”
Louisiana Boys and Louisiana Girls State programs are held June 24-30. It is a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for high school students between their junior and senior year. The programs are being held concurrently on the NSU campus.
Participants – called citizens — in each program are divided into groups and elect mock municipal officials and representative to a mock state legislature. They also elect state officials who meet to hold elections and pass bills in a manner similar to the actual Louisiana legislature. The program is intended to teach high-achieving students to be informed citizens while developing a sense of community, service and responsibility. More than 1,000 students, along with about 80 counselors and junior counselors and dozens of Legion and Auxiliary staff participate in each program.
An American Legion Post, local business or a community-based organization sponsors delegates. Bethard said “The Bank of Coushatta sponsored one Boy’s State and one Girl’s State participant. Other local sponsors sending one delegate each are Bethard and Bethard Attorneys at Law, Ed Lester Farms, Les Gray at American Bank and Trust Company, and Ray and Connie Mabile at Mabile’s Pharmacy.”
Unlike most other sponsoring American Legion Posts, the Coushatta post and auxiliary pay all of the expenses for the students it sends to Boys and Girls State. In addition the local sponsors provide a banquet and reception honoring the participants after school resumes in the fall.”