Two local students honored at American Legion Boys State

The American Legion Boys State named the 12 Outstanding Boys Staters for 2013 at Southwest Minnesota State University, Marshall, June 15.

Outstanding Boys Staters are selected by the Boys State counseling staff based on leadership abilities, cooperation, attention to program, participation in activities, behavior, physical condition, offices or appointments held and test scores.

Among the 12 selected were Simeon Toronto of Andover and Matthew Lerdahl of Coon Rapids.

Toronto, the son of Jonathan and Allison Toronto, attends Andover High School and was sponsored by the Edward B. Cutter American Legion Post #102 in Anoka.

Matthew Lerdahl, the son of Debra Lerdahl, attends Coon Rapids High School and was sponsored by the Coon Rapids American Legion Post #334 in Coon Rapids.

Boys State is an annual program in its 65th year sponsored by the American Legion Department  of Minnesota on a college campus.

With 363 in attendance, the program teaches government and leadership through hands-on activities designed to mimic the actual process of state government.

“We are so excited to announce these students as our 2013 Outstanding Boys Staters, deemed by their cities to possess the highest leadership qualities,” said Mike Bredeck, director of the program.

City elections are just a small part of the entire process at Minnesota Boys State.

Delegates (all high school juniors from hundreds of high schools) are assigned one of two fictional political parties and given the opportunity to participate in the city, county and state level nominating processes.

At the end of the week, scholarships and awards are given out to the highest achievers, and a student governor is named to oversee the program into 2014.

Boys State began Sunday, June 9 and continued through Saturday, June 15.

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