By Ron VandenBoom
Havre delegates to Boys' and Girls' State stood before the assembled crowd of sponsors, parents and spectators Sunday night as they told the crowd of their experiences at this year's event.
They were being honored by American Legion Post 11 at the annual baron of beef banquet Sunday at the Havre VFW Club.
The banquet also gives the Legion an opportunity to thank the sponsors who paid more than $200 each to sponsor each delegate.
Boys' and Girls' State is an American Legion project that sends deserving high school juniors on a week-long trip to either Helena or Dillon to get hands-on experience in the operation of city, county and state government.
Eight girls and five boys each took a turn at the microphone to tell the guests what they learned, enjoyed most, and would long remember about the experience.
The Legion hopes that when the youths return, they will have a better idea of how government is run and how the process works, said Sylvia Machler, president of the American Legion Auxiliary in Havre and Girls' State chairwoman for Post 11.
Machler said the applicant have to go through one-on-one interviews where they are asked a series of 12 or more questions by five auxiliary members before they are selected.
"They are asked things like what their views are of Americanism and how they feel about not standing for the flag during the National Anthem," Machler said.
Points are awarded based on the applicants' answers and the highest totals are selected.
A similar process was conducted by Boys' State Chairman Alec Sternberg.
"The Legion hopes that when the boys come back, they will, when seniors, be leaders within the school system and let other kids know about their experiences at Boys' State," Sternberg said. "It kind of gives others an idea of what government is all about, also."
Sternberg noted that it's an honor to be selected and he really believes they gain a lot from it.
Girls' State delegates were: Lindsay Schmidt, sponsored by American Association of University Women; Stacey Siebrasse, sponsored by Lions Club of Havre; Lindsey Brandt, sponsored by Optimist Club of Havre; Jennie Peterson, sponsored by VFW Auxiliary; Alisa Evens, sponsored by Havre Masonic Lodge 55; Thereasa Davis, sponsored by The Order of Eastern Star; Erin Lynch, sponsored by Havre Masonic Lodge 55; Nikki Grant, sponsored by Gary and Leo's IGA of Havre.
Boys' State delegates were: Kyle Austin, sponsored by The Sons of Norway; Jason Bowker, sponsored by The Havre Lions Club; Ryan Fink, sponsored by Independence Bank of Havre; Brent Finneman, sponsored by The Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 166; Justin O'Neil, sponsored by VFW Post 497; Chris Daniel, sponsored by Havre Rotary Club.