New York State Boys Nation delegates Sam Evans, left, and John O'Brien at the national World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington.
Cazenovia When school goes back into session this week, one of the first questions students are asked is what they did over the summer. While many teens will have good answers to that question, Cazenovia teen Sam Evans might have the most unique response — he spent a week as a national senator in Washington D.C.
Evans, a home-schooled student who turns 18 in September, was one of only 98 high school juniors nationwide chosen to participate in the American Legion’s annual Boys Nation event where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of the federal government.
“It was an amazing experience, once in a lifetime,” Evans said. “I was overwhelmed at how brilliant the people were there.”
Evans was selected and sponsored by the members of the Cazenovia American Legion Post 88 to represent their post first at Boys State in Morrisville in June and then at Boys Nation in Washington in July.
“He was the only one in all of Madison County [chosen] for at least 40 years to go to Boys Nation,” said Cazenovia American Legion Post 88 Commander Jack Mott. “He represented us very well from the post.”
The American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation are among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high-school students. Selectees participate in a program in which students become part of the operation of local, county, state and federal governments. Students are selected through their local American Legion posts, the members of which look for high school juniors who excel in academic, extracurricular and volunteer activities.
Evans, who lives in Perryville with his parents and five siblings, was brought to the attention of the Post 88 selection committee by his Boy Scout Troop leader George Schmit. Evans is a past Senior Patrol Leader and is in the process of earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He has applied to and hopes to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, majoring in political science and criminal justice. He was interviewed by the Legion committee and chosen as one of their five students to participate in the Boys State event. The Post 88 group included Evans, Zach Adler, Galen Okoniewski, Will Fellows and Mike Nourse.