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Students selected to learn civics, build leadership skills



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(From top to bottom) OHS juniors Daniel Stockard, Gabriel Hilliard, Mark Hazelwood, Timothy Haynes, Kristine Bartz and Larissa Krueger are attain the knowledge and skills this summer to become tomorrow’s leaders. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
May 04, 2011 - Today, they're bright, eager high school students, but tomorrow they could be our political leaders making policy decisions in Lansing and Washington D.C.

A highly-motivated group of six Oxford High School students have been selected to participate in three summer programs designed to educate them about public service, promote good citizenship and prepare them to someday take the mighty reins of government.

Juniors Larissa Krueger and Kristine Bartz were selected to attend the 70th session of the Michigan American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, to be held June 19-25 on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

They will join hundreds other young ladies from around the state who will get hands-on training in government.

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Juniors Daniel Stockard, Mark Hazelwood and Gabriel Hilliard (alternate) were chosen to attend the 74th session of the Michigan American Legion Boys State, to be held June 19-25 on the campus of Northwood University in Midland. The boys will join hundreds other young men from around the state.

Both Boys State and Girls State operate as real-life simulations in which participants serve as public officials in mock city, county and state governments of their own creation.

Students learn the duties and functions, as well as the powers and limitations, of various public offices in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government.

"These kids will learn what it's really like to make the big decisions that affect not just them, but thousands or even millions of other people," said Helen Smith, local chairperson for Boys State and Girls State. "The whole thing is designed to build respect for the democratic process and give kids an understanding of how and why it all works the way it does."

During the week-long programs, participants engage in a variety of activities including campaigning for office, voting for candidates, enacting laws, formulating public policy, participating in conventions for mythical political parties, learning parliamentary procedure, problem-solving and practicing the art of compromise.

The local cost for Girls State was paid by Oxford Women's Club, AMVETS Post 108, Rotary Club of Oxford, American Legion Post 108 and Legion Auxiliary Unit 108.

The local cost for Boys State was covered by American Legion Post 108, AMVETS Post 108, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 108 and the Rotary Club of Oxford.

Junior Timothy Haynes, Jr. was selected for the Youth Career Law Enforcement program to be held June 26 through July 1 at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing.

Designed for students interested in a career in law enforcement, participants will experience simulated drug busts and traffic stops, learn to safely shoot a gun, work with police canines, learn basic crime lab and forensic techniques, experience intense physical training, learn defensive techniques, first aid and crash site techniques.

The local cost for the Youth Career Law Enforcement program was covered by the Rotary Club of Oxford, AMVETS Post 108, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 108 and American Legion Post 108.

After they attend their respective programs, Oxford's participants will report on their experiences and what they learned to their various sponsors.

Smith wished to thank OHS counselor Lindsay House and Principal Mike Schweig for their help finding student candidates for all three programs.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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