Sept. 20, 2022 - This summer, 25 students represented the Comal Independent School District in the American Legion Boys State and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State leadership programs. They were recognized for their participation during the Comal ISD Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 19.
The two programs offer rising seniors the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of government by creating their own. They run for office, host elections, conduct committee hearings, draft legislation, pass legislation and more.
During this six-day crash course, students are exposed to the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of every citizen as they learn to operate city, county and state governments.
Texas Boys State occurs at the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas Girls State takes place at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.
Here are a few lessons-learned and thoughts from 2022 Comal ISD participants.
The most amazing take away from participating in Girls State was the girlhood bond I created with my peers and counselors alike. I never have and might never experience that connection between girls again. Knowing them made my life better. -Grace Bush, Smithson Valley High School
During my time at Girls State, I was able to develop crucial interpersonal skills while connecting with hundreds of girls all across our vast regions. Although challenging, I found it very eye-opening to collaborate and learn with others about the inner workings of a state government, as well as discuss different points of views regarding major issues in our community. I also appreciated the family I built throughout the week, and all the fun memories that I will cherish for years to come. -Anna Christian, Canyon High School
The most important thing I learned during my time at Boys State was that leadership doesn’t just involve the responsibility of one’s self, but of those that you are leading as well. When leading meetings for your district and area, it is essential to act with the benefit of all you represent in mind, a value that I now understand and appreciate. -Luke Gately, Canyon High School
Boys State was an enlightening experience. It humbled me and showed me that I had immense room for growth and change. It was difficult when I lost the first of many times, yet it taught me to persevere and fight until the end. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world. -Elijah Hime, Memorial Early College High School
I decided that I wanted to go to Girls State to learn more about my civil duties. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I learned so much while I was there. I learned the value and importance of government and the role that our politicians and leaders serve in our society. The thing that I valued most from my experience was the amazing young women that I met and practicing civil discourse. I believe that every young girl who has the chance to go to Girls State should take the opportunity because Girls State gave me lifetime friends and voting knowledge that I would have never known if I hadn’t decided to go. -Mackenzie Ivy, Canyon High School
Girls State truly was a once in a lifetime experience. I learned a lot about our government such as details on the House of Representatives, Senate, political parties, and even elections. I acquired information on municipal, county, state, and national governments. I gained knowledge over how bills are passed and listened to many debates. Not only did I learn new information, but I also met amazing people from all around Texas. I instantly found my group and enjoyed every minute of Girls State with them. From waking up at 6:30 a.m. for flag raising to lights out at midnight after daily meetings, this experience exposed me to a whole new world. I still keep in touch with the friends that I made during my time at Texas Girls State; I also reflect on the various perspectives I was exposed to (political, social, economic, etc.). Overall, I enjoyed my time as a Girls State Citizen; I’ll always remember the experience—there’s nothing else like it. - Sarina Schwarze, Canyon High School
The best thing I learned at Girls State was not just how to succeed, but how to fail. I gave some speeches I’m really proud of, and I definitely have some I’m embarrassed of too. Most high achievers have succeeded their whole life, and absolutely bombing was something that taught me how to get back up and try again. -Tatum Tomallo, Smithson Valley High School
I first wanted to attend Boys State because I wanted exposure to public speaking, but once I arrived, I realized there was a greater lesson. Not only did I have my chance to speak, but I now have a deeper understanding of how our state government operates. Also, I have made lifelong friends along the way. The boys in my “city” still keep in touch as some of us hope to see each other attending the same college next year. The camaraderie and fellowship that the Boys State program instills is unmatched compared to any other summer camp I have ever attended. I would urge any young man who is an aspiring leader to apply for Boys State. -Ray Allen Schaefer, Canyon High School
2022 Boys State and Girls State participants per campus
Canyon High School
- Cameron Duhon – Boys State
- Luke Gately - Boys State
- Ray Allen Schaefer - Boys State
- Anna Christian – Girls State, sponsored by the New Braunfels Police Officers Association
- Mackenzie Ivy - Girls State, sponsored by Stewart Door NB LLC
- Sarina Schwarze - Girls State, sponsored by Hill Country Endodontics, P.A.
Canyon Lake High School
- Peyton Russell – Boys State
- Aleksandur Villavicencio – Boys State
- Alyssa Norton – Girls State
- Isabella Hollenbeck – Girls State
Davenport High School
- Delando Johnson Jr. – Boys State
- Noah Mosley – Boys State
- Caleb Starjak – Boys State
- Belle Asbury – Girls State
- Madison Sunstrom – Girls State
Memorial College High School
- Jameson Brock – Boys State
- Colton Burtch – Boys State
- Elijah Hime – Boys State
- Margaret Brooks – Girls State
- Delee Faison – Girls State
- Alyssa Martinez – Girls State
- Lindsey McNeill – Girls State
- Alexa Arredondo Medina – Girls State
Smithson Valley High School
- Grace Bush – Girls State
- Trieste Perciavalle – Girls State
- Tatum Tomallo – Girls State
-Comal ISD 2022 participants in Boys State were recognized by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 19.
-Comal ISD 2022 participants in Girls State were recognized by the Board of Trustees on Sept. 19
-Comal ISD students who participated in the 2022 Girls State program are pictured here. Back row from left is Margaret Brooks, Madison Sunstrom, Belle Asbury, Alyssa Norton and Trieste Perciavalle. Front row from left is Sarina Schwarze, Anna Christian, Mackenzie Ivy, Tatum Tomallo, Grace Bush, Delee Faison, Alexa Arredondo Medina and Isabella Hollenbeck.
-Comal ISD students who participated in the 2022 Boys State program are pictured here. Back row from left is Aleksandur Villavicencio, Peyton Russell, Ray Allen Schaefer, Colton Burtch and Elijah Hime. Front row from left is Jameson Brock, Noah Mosley, Delando Johnson Jr., Luke Gately and Cameron Duhon.