[caption id="attachment_17" align="alignright" width="635"] (File Photo) Staters wait in line to check-in for their week at Kansas Boys State.[/caption] By BRAD BILES Public Relations Advisor More than 450 young men from across the State of Kansas, all of whom will be entering their senior year of high school this fall, are scheduled to participate in the 2015 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy. The event, in its 78th year, will be held Sunday, May 31, through Saturday, June 6, at Kansas State University in Manhattan. The ALBSKLA provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy. Among the special speakers and major events during the week (the following are open to the public): Sunday, May 31 • Opening Ceremonies, 2:45 p.m., McCain Auditorium — Keynote speaker: Bernard Franklin, Ph.D., assistant to the vice president for student life, Kansas State University, and president of the Center for Imagineering Leadership Monday, June 1 • Announcement of BSK primary election winners for state offices, 1:15 p.m., Assembly Area (Marlatt Hall parking lot [northeast of building on Claflin Road]) • Swearing in of BSK mayors, 7 p.m., Assembly Area Tuesday, June 2 • BSK state candidates debate, 1 p.m., McCain Auditorium — Keynote speaker: Ed O’Malley, president and chief executive officer, Kansas Leadership Center, Wichita • Announcement of BSK general election winners for state offices, 7 p.m., Assembly Area Wednesday, June 3 • BSK Talent Show, 7:30 p.m., McCain Auditorium — Keynote speaker: Taggart Wall, city manager, Sterling, Kan. • Boys State of Kansas governor will make his opening address Thursday, June 4 • BSK Band and Chorus Concerts, 7:30 p.m. McCain Auditorium Saturday, June 6 • Closing Ceremonies, 9:45 a.m., McCain Auditorium • Announcement of Boys Nation senators • Announcement of Outstanding Citizens from each Boys State of Kansas city Also, Joseph Pierron, J.D., Kansas Court of Appeals judge and Tim Steffensmeier, Ph.D., department head and associate professor of communication studies, Kansas State University, will speak to the Staters during town hall meetings (not open to the public) on June 2. The American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy is an interactive simulation that teaches high school seniors-to-be the value of democracy and civic duty. Participants form mock governments and campaign for positions at the city, county and state levels. After the elections, participants find out firsthand the difficult decisions made daily by those in government through a series of challenging simulations. Delegates, nominated to attend by their high school counselors and other influential people in their lives, are sponsored by American Legion posts and various civic organizations from across the state. All delegates demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities in student government, athletics and/or other activities. The Boys State program was founded by Legionnaires Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card in Illinois in 1935, and was first held in Kansas two years later in Wichita. The Kansas program moved to the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1963 and remained there until 1991. The following year, it moved to its current location at Kansas State University in Manhattan. For more information about the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy, visit http://kansasboysstate.com/ or http://ksbstate.org/.