More than 250 incoming high school seniors participated in the 2018 Michigan American Legion Boys State last week at Grand Valley State University. Throughout the week, students operated fictitious city, county and state governments.
Grand Haven High School students Bennett Lowe and Christian Hudson were among the local students who participated in this year’s program. Lowe and Hudson served as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.
Hudson, 17, said other Grand Haven students also held roles such as speaker of the House and editor-in-chief. Hudson said they all put in a lot of effort and worked to gain the most from the experience.
To begin the week, students elected peers to fulfill roles. Although Lowe, also 17, initially wanted to oversee the environment department, he decided to run for governor.
Lowe said he attended Boys State as a way to meet other people who are also passionate about government and to hear new ideas. Toward the end of the week, he said they focused on passing a budget that would fund infrastructure and help jobs flow in the economy.
As the lieutenant governor, Hudson said he enjoyed seeing the different parts of government function to make up the entire state. He said that he also learned about his own leadership skills.
Hudson said he applied for the program based on the positive experience fellow GHHS students had in it, and he thought it would offer an opportunity to learn about civic leadership.
“It’s a new opportunity that brought a lot to offer,” Hudson said.
Hudson encourages students contemplating making an application to participate in the American Legion program to do it.
“It’s truly life-changing,” he said.