Saturday, July 25, 2015
2 Youths Represent NY at Boys Nation
John Aiello of Northport and Jared DiNicolantonio of Lockport spent the past week (July 17-24) in Washington, D.C., representing New York at the American Legion Boys Nation – one of the Legion’s premier youth programs.
The young men were selected as senators from New York from among nearly 1,000 high school youth attending New York American Legion Boys State, held June 26 to July 2 at SUNY Morrisville.
During their week-long immersion in democracy and leadership, Aiello and DNicolantonio stayed at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., where they took part in party conventions and senate sessions, elected a president and vice president, introduced and voted on bills submitted by their peers, and heard from guest speakers.
Activities off campus included visits to memorials, the Pentagon and the White House, where they got to shake hands with President Barack Obama. Obama spoke to them about becoming future leaders and thanked the American Legion for its efforts on behalf of veterans and for providing educational opportunities for youth.
The youth senators also had meetings with elected officials on Capitol Hill, and dinner at Greenbelt Post 136 in Maryland with special guest National American Legion Commander Michael Helm.
Aiello will be a senior at Regis High School this fall, and DiNicolantonio will be a senior at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. In addition to being selected as a delegate to Boys Nation, Aiello was elected state comptroller at Boys State.
Boys State Executive Director John Murphy said the youth experienced New York State government up close and personal, debating policy issues and electing city and county leaders, state legislators and top state leaders. During the week at SUNY Morrisville, the youth were mentored by a cadre of American Legion counselors and a squad of U.S. Marines.