Robert Gerber has lived in the District of Columbia “basically my entire life,” he said, but he’s never been able to go in the White House or a building at the White House.
That changed Friday, the last day of American Legion Boys Nation 2018, as Gerber and his fellow Boys Nation senators visited with Vice President Mike Pence at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
“It was really amazing to see him, and it was incredible that he took time out of his schedule today to come talk to us. It truly was an amazing experience, and I think it was a culmination of the entire program. So it was a good way to end it,” Gerber said.
Gerber’s fellow D.C. representative at Boys Nation, Chris Bond, said Pence’s presence was impressive.
“When he entered the room, all eyes turned to him. There’s very few people in the world that when they enter a room, like the whole atmosphere just goes around them. Everyone, regardless of if they liked him or not, they were all just captivated by him and his presence,” Bond said.
The late afternoon trip to the EEOB necessitated a change in the usual graduation schedule for Boys Nation. The graduation ceremony, usually held Friday night, was held early Friday afternoon instead.
“It shows the flexibility that this program has to be able to react to changes,” Director of Activities Dale Barnett said.
Barnett told the graduates that Boys Nation 2018 “will be remembered for years, by you, by your counselors … and by our nation as the years pass by as you go out into the world and take that mantle of leadership and lead our nation to its greatest times.”
The four elected officers — President Joshua Cheadle, Vice President Aabid Razvi, President Pro Tempore Sahil Inaganti and Secretary of the Senate Hap Waddell — received scholarship awards. Also receiving special recognition were honor guard members Caleb Richardson of Maine, Daniel Harbison of Florida, Edward Proietti Conti of Texas, Woodrow Orris of Nevada, Zane Moore of Wyoming, Ruben Banks of Missisissippi, John Leslie of North Carolina and Alexander Hopper of Arkansas.
After the senators received their graduation certificates, the eight junior counselors were recognized, including three who have completed the maximum three years for junior counselors: Rory Calabria, Matt Rosenthal and Ben Schaefer. Each had a chance to talk about their Boys Nation experience and to thank their fellow JC’s, other staff members and the Boys Nation senators.
More from Friday
Dr. Lawrence Paska, executive director of the National Council for the Social Studies, spoke briefly to the senators Friday morning.
The senators closed their session by overriding President Joshua Cheadle’s veto of a bill establishing Congressional authority to approve and oversee tariffs on trade. All told, Boys Nation 2018 passed 13 bills, with eight signed into law by Cheadle.