Ryan Blake, a senior at Lewis County High School this year, received a certificate of completion of 2018 American Legion Boys State, held at WVU Jackson’s Mill in June. Post #4 Commander James Dennison presented Blake with the certificate. Post #4 helped sponsor Blake for Boys State.
Blake, who plans to pursue a degree in nursing at Glenville State College in 2019, said Boys State taught him about what it means to be an American.
“It’s not just singing the anthem at sporting events, but we learned what the words actually meant,” Blake said.
The first three days were overwhelming, Blake said. Attendees were able to use electronic voting this year, and Blake was elected county commissioner of the Gilmer and Calhoun Cottage.
Boys State is designed so that campers create their own society, with commissioners, delegates, and other official offices.
Blake said he and fellow campers also learned about Prisoners of War, and were able to watch a flag retirement ceremony.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, spoke at Boys State this year, and Blake said her speech resonated with him.
He said Capito told the boys what an honor it was for them to have the opportunity to attend Boys State, and being a leader in government allows others to follow and create change on a county and state level.
Blake was so impressed with the experience, he urges others to take advantage of the opportunity to go.
“You shouldn’t turn it down,” he said.
The nursing program is new to GSC, and will be a four year program, where Blake will be able to earn his RN license. He has participated in the Ambassador program at LCHS, who partners with Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital. He is also taking a dual credit anatomy course through Fairmont State University this year, where he will perform 20 hours of job shadowing.
Blake’s mother, Jennifer, said he has always been fascinated by the medical field.