TTU hosts Tennessee American Legion Boys' State May 25-31

The number one Boys' State program in the nation will learn how the scales of justice balance and how state government functions as about 600 high school juniors visit Tennessee Tech University for Tennessee American Legion Boys' State.

"This program is number one in the nation because of the established relationship between the American Legion and Tennessee Tech University," said Judge John J. Maddux Jr., circuit court judge for the 13th judicial district. "These two organizations work together to produce a top-notch product."

During the week, participants are immersed in learning state government by running a mock 51st state, Boys' State. They will organize political parties and establish city, county and state governments by election, complete with primaries and political campaigns. American Legion Posts across the state sponsor delegates and fund the activities held at Tennessee Tech.

This year's session also will feature an address from Gov. Phil Bredesen. For the sixth consecutive year, Boys' State will host the SCALES program, the Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students, during which the Tennessee Supreme Court will hold a special session to hear oral arguments in two actual Supreme Court cases.

"Boys' State promotes a respect for our government, our leaders and our military," said Marc Burnett, director and TTU's vice president of student affairs, who has worked with the program since 1984.

During the week, Boys' Staters will receive qualified instruction and advice from elected state officials. Gov. Bredesen will address the group on Tuesday afternoon. Ryan Rummage of Antioch, 2007 Boys' State governor, will address participants when they arrive Sunday, and NASA astronaut Capt. Hoot Gibson will speak to delegates Monday evening.

Judge John J. Maddux Jr. has overseen the program as Tennessee Boys' State chairperson for almost three decades and invites all speakers and guests. Community leaders assisting with government instruction include John Keys, commissioner for Tennessee's Department of Veterans Affairs; Henry Fincher, state representative; former state representative Jerry Jared; Cookeville attorney Jeffrey Jones; Steve Qualls, former Cookeville city councilman; and Kim Blaylock, County Executive of Putnam County.

The 2008 American Legion officers for Tennessee are Gary Drennon of Old Hickory, state commander; A. Mike Hammer of Nashville, adjutant and finance officer; Jennings B. Loring Sr. of Nashville, national executive committeeman; and Hoyte M. Robinson of Nashville, alternate national executive committeeman. Serving on the Boys' State Board of Directors are John J. Maddux Jr. of Cookeville, A. Mike Hammer of Nashville, and Perry D. Roberts of Cookeville.

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