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Boys State starts Saturday

WESSON – Several candidates and sitting officials seeking stateoffice will deliver speeches to participants in the 2007 session ofthe American Legion Boys State of Mississippi convention atCopiah-Lincoln Community College next week.

The 64th annual session, which will host approximately 400 highschool boys who have completed their junior years, will conveneSaturday and run through June 1 on the school’s campus.

Boys State is a program to identify emerging leaders and instillin them constructive attitudes about American government. Sessionleaders use a hands-on approach to help delegates gain anunderstanding of elections and government by campaigning for astate, county or municipal office and then actually performing thejob of their “real world counterpart,” said Steve Guyton, mediacoordinator.

Delegates will present and debate bills in their legislature andwork on economic development projects in their city while competingagainst other delegates for those projects. Cities also compete insoftball, tennis, golf, flag football, basketball andvolleyball.

Throughout the session, delegates hear addresses from politicalcandidates and sitting officials, Guyton said.

Jacob Ray, a candidate for state auditor, will present the firstaddress Saturday with Sen. Charlie Ross speaking Sunday.

John Arthur Eaves Jr., a candidate for governor, and StateAuditor Phil Bryant, a candidate of lieutenant governor, willaddress the delegates Monday. State Treasurer Tate Reeves willspeak Tuesday.

Delegates will visit the state Capitol and Jackson museumsWednesday, with an address by Gov. Haley Barbour at the WarMemorial Building and Mississippi Supreme Court Justice JamesGraves in the House of Representatives.

On Thursday, Attorney General Jim Hood will conclude the slateof speakers back on the college campus.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to meet withrepresentatives of state colleges and universities, variousbranches of the military and cadets from the military academies todiscuss future plans, Guyton said.

Participants to Boys State are eligible for American Legionscholarships totaling more than $5,000. Two delegates will beelected by their peers to represent the state at the AmericanLegion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.