American Legion welcomes back Girls, Boys State attendees

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Brittany Tolias (right) talks about her experiences at Girls State as part of the Concordia American Legion Post 258 meeting Tuesday, Aug. 12. The legion and its auxiliary selected six young women and men to participate in the Girls or Boys State Conferences, which were held in June. Along with Tolias, (from left) are Madison Pitsch, Shania Anderson, Alexis Burrow and Hanna Janik. Brittany Reinwald (not pictured) was also selected to represent the auxiliary at Girls State. Johnathan Self, Luke Stuenkel, Hayden Moore, Zach Toole, David Hemme and Derrick Lindstrom were selected for Boys State. (Charles Dunlap/The Concordian)

When the Concordia American Legion Post 258 met Tuesday evening, Aug. 12, they had some special guest presenters -- the recent Girls and Boys State attendees. Boys state was held June 15-21 and Girls state was held June 22-28.

"Tonight is a recognition of participants of Girls and Boys State," said Ed Nierman, post commander. "We are honored to present this program throughout Missouri -- the American Legion posts."

After a meal furnished by the American Legion Auxiliary, Linda Strobel introduced those who attended -- Hanna Janik, Brittany Tolias, Brittany Reinwald, Alexis Burrow, Shania Anderson and Madison Pitsch. Strobel expressed appreciation to representatives from the Concordia Lions Club, Concordia Bank and Alma Bank for their sponsorships.

"We so appreciate this," she said. "The auxiliary would only be able to send three girls. Because of these three other organizations we were able to send six girls."

Strobel then asked each individual to speak about their experience at Girls State.

"I had a lot of fun. I met a lot of neat people," said Tolias, adding information about the political offices for which she ran.

She won a position as a county treasurer and continued to try for state treasurer. Many said they learned much more about government than they had previously in a government class.

"I definitely made a lot of good friends," said Anderson.

After questions from the audience, Nierman introduced Johnathan Self and Luke Stuenkel, who were two of the six boys selected for Boys State. The other attendees from Concordia were Hayden Moore, Zach Toole, David Hemme and Derrick Lindstrom. Toole and Hemme sent thank-you letters to the legion.

"It was a great program, and I really enjoyed it," said Self.

Stuenkel said he enjoyed meeting new people while at the conference. He was selected as a fire fighter for his mock community.

"It was really fun to learn how the government worked, because I didn't really know much about it since I haven't taken government yet," he added.

Both young men were asked who their favorite speaker was at Boys State. While they couldn't remember his name, they both said the U.S. Navy Seal who spoke. Stuenkel said it was inspirational because of how much success the Seal had, even though he was still relatively young.

The legion receives nominations for potential Boys and Girls State participants from the schools -- usually the principals, explained Nierman. Selections are based on the students' grade point average, any extra-curricular activities in which they participate and if they're a well-rounded individual.

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