Friday, 30 November 2018 15:15

Raider Battalion's top three cadets reflect on summer experience

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Two Richmond Senior Army JROTC cadet leaders, Grantham Freeman and Timmothy Powell, participated in Tar Heel Boys State at Catawba College this summer. Another cadet, Amya Garris, took part in Girls State. Two Richmond Senior Army JROTC cadet leaders, Grantham Freeman and Timmothy Powell, participated in Tar Heel Boys State at Catawba College this summer. Another cadet, Amya Garris, took part in Girls State. Contributed photo

Over the summer, three Richmond Senior High School students were invited by American Legion Post 147 to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity — to attend Tar Heel Boys State and Girls State.  Boys State and Girls State are weeklong programs that bring people together from all over the state to run an imaginary state-sized government. All the delegates come from different upbringings and lifestyles which leads to quite a diverse crowd.


Raider Battalion Commander Grantham Freeman, Command Sgt. Maj. Timmothy Powell and Battalion Executive Officer Amya Garris all traveled to Catawba College in Salisbury to represent our community while integrated with students from all over the state. The participating young men and women were amalgamated to teams that comprised  unfamiliar fellow students.  These unlikely teams very quickly created bonds and friendships that strengthened over the long week of voting and running their government. 

At the beginning of the week, each participant — known as a delegate — campaigns for and is elected to a position within the government.  These positions range everywhere from a city mayor or chief of police, all the way up to the governor of the state. Campaign and election is the first order of work and after the elections are over, delegates assume their positions and it’s time for them to get to work.  

Work is called “Government in Action,” which includes everything from building and balancing budgets, to dealing with natural disasters. Some of the situations the governments are tasked with include planning to host the World Cup, dealing with radioactive waste leaking into the local waterways, and dealing with a string of tornadoes that damaged many of the cities. Intergovernmental coordination was required as cities had to call on one another for loans to repair damages during the storm.  

The program wasn’t always serious and busy though, as the delegates had plenty of time to take part in extracurricular activities.  Some of the activities included swimming, basketball, a newspaper and a band.  At one point during the week, the program included a talent show where the delegates showed off their very interesting talents.  At the end of the week, the fun came to an end and it was time for a graduation ceremony where speakers included Carol Baker, the North Carolina Department Commander. 

All three of Richmond County’s delegates are part of Richmond Senior High’s JROTC Raider Battalion.  These three have all stated how much Boys and Girls State has changed their lives. 

“I was a bit nervous about attending Boys State at first,” said Freeman. “I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.  Now, if I could go back and change how it went, I wouldn’t change a thing.” 

Garris, the battalion's second in command, said, “Making this decision to be a part of the summer 2018 American Legion Tar Heel Girls State was the best decision that I ever made.” 

“Tar Heel Boys State is definitely an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience which you will meet some amazing people and even greater friends,” said Powell. “Now graduated from Boys State, I feel that I am a greater citizen and leader. To me, that’s what Boys State is all about.” 

Richmond Senior High’s Senior Army Instructor, retired Lt. Col. Jon Ring, summed up the experience.

“These three delegates are future leaders of North Carolina and the nation,” Ring said. “Each of them are grateful to the American Legion for hosting the forum and for scholarship. I would like to personally express my appreciation to the Legion as well. 

“We can also take pride that each of these great young people are currently planning to serve our country,” he added. “We can be sure that they will continue to be the best they can be and lead the way.  All the way!”