Some 168 hours after arriving at American Legion Boys Nation — give or take a few hours — and after passing 46 bills and resolutions, the 98 senators of the 2022 session graduated from the 76th edition of Boys Nation.
Friday night’s graduation ceremony came at the end of a day during which the senators visited the White House and closed their senate session, and at the end of a week which will help shape their futures.
Colin Street of West Virginia had to decide between senior band camp and his invitation to Boys Nation, with the chance to reconnect with old elementary school friend Holden Fershee of Nebraska playing a factor.
“I wasn’t 100 percent sure what to expect going into (Boys Nation),” Street said. “But at the end of the week, I can tell you I made the right decision to come to Boys Nation, 100 percent.”
For Fershee, one of the most exciting parts about Friday’s White House visit was seeing the history firsthand.
“One of the Secret Service agents told us that one of the paintings in the room we were in was from 1767. It was sort of incredible to think about that painting had not only been in the United States and part of American history for that long, but was also in that room for so long,” Fershee said. “There was so much to learn and it was really fascinating to hear about all that in the rooms where it actually happened.”
In the afternoon, Boys Nation Vice President Raj Talati of South Carolina gaveled the session to a close. Legislation on a variety of topics came to the senate floor during the week. The 2022 session saw 14 bills passed by the senate and signed by Boys Nation President Tamarus Darby Jr. of Michigan, with the senate overriding his veto on a 15th bill. The senate also passed 31 simple resolutions.
Darby, Talati and fellow elected officials president pro tempore Andrew Dillard of Alabama and secretary of the senate Dev Madhavani of Connecticut received scholarships at Friday night’s graduation ceremony.
Third-year junior counselor Jordan Willey encouraged the graduating senators to use what they learned at Boys Nation as they go out into the world. “Service must be the pinnacle of your life,” Willey said.
Retiring Americanism Commission Chairman Richard Anderson was also recognized at the graduation ceremony.