Eight from northwest Kansas take part in 82nd annual leadership academy

June 17, 2019 Approximately 405 young men from across the State of Kansas, all of whom will enter their senior year of high school this fall, participated in the 2019 session of the American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy. The event, which concluded its 82nd year, was held June 3-8 at Kansas State University in Manhattan for the 28th consecutive year.


The ALBSKLA provides a relevant, interactive, problem-solving experience in leadership and teamwork that develops self-identity, promotes mutual respect and instills civic responsibility. Boys State is a “learning by doing” political exercise that simulates elections, political parties and government at the state, county and local levels, providing opportunities to lead under pressure, showcasing character and working effectively within a team. It’s also an opportunity to gain pride and respect for government and the price paid by members of the military to preserve democracy.


Among the highlights from the week, Dalton White, a resident of Leavenworth, Kan., and a senior-to-be at Leavenworth High School, was elected Boys State of Kansas governor. In addition, Ian Gould, Roeland Park, a senior-to-be at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, and Zachary Wash, McPherson, a senior-to-be at McPherson High School, were elected by their peers to represent Boys State of Kansas at Boys Nation this summer,  July 19 to 27 at Marymount University in Arlington, Va.

Brad Biles, Prairie Village, was named Adviser of the Year as selected by fellow Kansas Boys State advisers. Biles, who was a 1983 KBS delegate from Bonner Springs High School, serves as the Kansas Boys State public relations director.

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Dustin Curiel, Hutchinson, who served as the head media counselor this year, was named Counselor of the Year (counselors with four or more years’ experience). He was a 2014 KBS delegate from Hutchinson High School. Jacob Casey, Gardner, who served as an internet technology counselor this year, was named New Counselor of the Year (counselors with three or fewer years’ experience). He was a 2016 KBS delegate from Gardner-Edgerton High School.

Levi Hickert, Hays (attends Hays High School), was named the Kansas Boys State winner of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship. Hickert receives a guaranteed $1,250 scholarship and advances to be considered as a National Scholar for the chance to earn up to a $10,000 scholarship. Hickert was a senator representing Patton County during the week.

Davis Miller, Mission Hills (attends Pembroke Hill School, Kansas City, Mo.) received the William “Bill” F. Stahl Outstanding Justice Award, given to the outstanding member of the Boys State of Kansas Supreme Court as voted on by his Supreme Court peers. The award is presented in recognition of outstanding commitment to justice under the law and dedicated service to Boys State of Kansas. Stahl, of Junction City, Kan., passed away in September 2015 and was a longtime supporter of the ALBSKLA.

Weston Curnow, Olathe (attends Olathe West High School), was named the Outstanding Senator (representing Pershing County), and Davis Griffey, Leawood (attends Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kan.), was named the Outstanding State Representative (representing Pershing County).

The 2020 American Legion Boys State of Kansas Leadership Academy is scheduled to be held the week beginning Sunday, May 31, again at Kansas State University. For information on becoming a delegate, visit http://kansasboysstate.com/ or http://ksbstate.org/.

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The following is a list of this year’s ALBSKLA delegates from northwest Kansas. Those delegates denoted with a star (*) were elected by their Kansas Boys State city as its outstanding citizen:

 (Name, High School, Boys State Elected/Appointed Position – all cities/high schools in Kansas unless noted)

Smith Center

  • Tanner Henrichs, Smith Center High School, Eisenhower County Commissioner
  • Shelton Rothchild, Smith Center High School, Kennedy County Commissioner


  • Levi Hickert, Hays High School, Patton County Senator

o   Hickert was the Kansas Boys State winner of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship

Hill City

  • Michael Blanks, Hill City High School, Eisenhower County Representative


  • Cole Wenzl, Phillipsburg High School, Stater Radio


  • Benjamin Anderson, Trego Community High School, Powell County Senator


  • Cade Lanning, Colby High School, City of Finley Councilman


  • Joseph Yanez-Perez, Golden Plains High School, City of Werring Councilman





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