More than 1,000 of South Carolina’s most promising high school leaders among the rising senior class returned to the campus of Anderson University on Sunday, June 5 for Palmetto Boys State, a weeklong leadership development program sponsored by The American Legion. Coupled with Boys State leadership and counselors, more than 1,200 are participating in this record year for the event that runs through Saturday morning.
This year’s event marks the sixth at Anderson University, which became the new home of the prestigious leadership program in 2010. According to Boys State leaders, this is the largest ever group in the 76-year-history of the event (which is ranked 2rd in participation nationally).
Boys State commenced Sunday night at 7:30 with a massive rally in Anderson University’s Henderson Auditorium at which Boys State delegates heard from high profile leaders in one of the most electrifying rallies held anywhere in South Carolina.
Boys State was developed to help develop future leaders for South Carolina by allowing promising young men, nominated by their schools and selected by local American Legion chapters, to participate in “mock” government, running for office, drafting legislation and actually presenting that legislation to leadership in Columbia.
Palmetto Boys State is a unique “governmental laboratory” for leaders from high schools across the state as the 1,000+ attendees divide into mock cities and counties, form a system of governance mirroring that of the state legislature. Much attention is given to civic responsibility and state and national pride during the event, which features songs, chants, talent shows, elections and stellar guests, and this year, some major surprises to mark the 75th anniversary.
On Saturday morning, the Dave Hortman 5k run gave a record number of participants from across the state an opportunity to join with South Carolina’s emerging young leaders in an event that raises scholarship funds for young people and honor a fallen PBS staff member who was killed while serving his country in the military.