Eight Reynoldsburg High School juniors, five boys and three girls, have been chosen as delegates to this year's Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State events.

Eight Reynoldsburg High School juniors, five boys and three girls, have been chosen as delegates to this year's Buckeye Boys State and Buckeye Girls State events.

Emily DeBrock, Jalisa Herron, Kristin Yarger, Zach Alexander, Matt Neumann, Seth Paxton, Andrew Shallenberger and Vaughn Spaulding were recommended by their teachers. Criteria included good leadership and citizenship qualities, maintaining good grades and having an interest in learning more about government.

Buckeye Boys and Girls State are hands-on events designed to educate students about local and state government, including duties, privileges, and the rights and responsibilities of good citizenship.

The event is sponsored by the American Legion in all 50 states.

The RHS Boys State delegates are sponsored by Reynoldsburg American Legion Post 798 and the RHS Girls State delegates are sponsored by the Women's Auxiliary of Bexley American Legion Post 430.

Buckeye Boys State will be held June 14-22 at Bowling Green State University. Buckeye Girls State will be held June 15-21 at Ashland University.

Reynoldsburg High School counselor Chris Ginder said the two programs draw 900 students each from all 88 Ohio counties.

"The purpose of this program is to have young people who are good leaders in their schools, and good citizens, be exposed to government in action," she said.

Ginder, who participated in the event when she was a junior at RHS in 1968, coordinates the process for students now. She said she begins the search for delegates by first sending a memo out to all sophomore and junior social studies and English teachers, asking them to nominate students they think are qualified.

Ginder said the nominatees are then voted on by each of the American Legion posts.

Normally, the legions choose three to five candidates to attend each event, which costs $300 per student.

Carl Bradley, commander of the Reynoldsburg American Legion, said the reason they chose to send all five students to Boys State this year was because the essays submitted on why they wanted to attend were excellent.

"All five seemed to have grasped the concept of what the Buckeye Boys State event means, which is to learn firsthand how local and state government functions," Bradley said.

"They also provided a reason on what they would benefit from and why they were a good candidate, so we raised some extra money and sent all five," he said.

Bradley said the Boys State programs have been going on for more than 50 years nationwide and many famous people have attended them, including Neil Armstrong, Michael Jordon and Bill Clinton.

Students stay in college dormitories during the events. Part of the programs involve creating a fictitious state, cities and counties, then electing a governor, a mayor and members of other governing bodies.

"What it does and what I see for the program is they receive a clearer picture of why things actually work the way they do in government," Bradley said. "Other than from just learning from a textbook, they learn firsthand how a House bill is created and how it is voted on and what goes on in the committees."

At the end of the program the boys and girls are presented certificates of completion by their respective legions.

Julia Lowe, a Bexley American Legion Women's Auxiliary member, said the program really helps young people understand government.

"They come back having learned a lot, and although it's a lot of hard work, they all have fun doing it," she said.

Ginder said although each student gets a certificate of competition they take home much more than that.

"It is a fun thing and they get to learn how a city council works and how the government process works on all these levels," she said. "When I was there, I learned so much about our government that I just wasn't aware of, and it has served me my whole life."

dowen@thisweeknews.com