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Attendees learn about local government, forge friendships at Boys State

Nikoli+Iuliucci+and+members+of+%22Tyler%22+take+a+group+photo+at+Boys+State+held+at+Rider+University.
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Attendees learn about local government, forge friendships at Boys State

Nikoli Iuliucci and members of

Nikoli Iuliucci and members of "Tyler" take a group photo at Boys State held at Rider University.

Nikoli Iuliucci and members of "Tyler" take a group photo at Boys State held at Rider University.

Nikoli Iuliucci and members of "Tyler" take a group photo at Boys State held at Rider University.


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While most students focused on final exams and wrapping up the school year, then junior Nikoli Iuliucci spent several days at Rider University, representing the Sons of American Legion Squadron 311 in Atco at Boys State, a multi-day leadership camp.

At the program, which is exclusively for juniors, participants learn the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of being an American citizen. The training centers on structure of city, county, and state governments. Attendees are elected to various offices and other activities including legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, horses, and other recreational programs.

According to Paul Lisnyj, a member of Squadron 311, Iuliucci was selected because of his interest and involvement.

“Nicoli is no stranger to the American Legion,” said Lisnyj. “He’s a good representative because of his years of involvement and his participation in community events like the Memorial Day parade.

Iuliucci actively participates as a member of Squadron 311, under the division of Sons of American Legioneers (SAL). For Iuluicci, it’s a family legacy. His father held a command position in the Squadron, and mother is an active member and former officer of the 311 Auxiliary, the women’s branch of the American Legion that meets separately.

For Iuliucci, Boys State provided a setting to learn more about government and to make friends.

“I learned about how things get passed in local and state governments and the chain of command,” he explained. “I can use this to get more involved in the community, something I plan on doing as an adult.”

Iuliucci’s group of approximately 50 other attendees were assigned a hypothetical city and given a list of issues that had to be solved. For example, one issue for “Tyler,” the city name his group was assigned, was whether or not to purchase an incinerator to dispose of town waste (instead of paying to have it taken away). The group had to consider finances, legal guidelines for trash disposal, and the impact it would have on neighboring towns in their solution.

For Iuliucci, the experience was also valuable because of the friendships he made.

“It was cool meeting everyone there, mainly because it was more popular in North Jersey,” he said. “The closest person I met (besides Dan Corrigan who came as well) was my roommate from Gloucester. After the week was over, though, I realized I made new friendships that paralleled ones I’ve had for years.”

According to its website, Boys State exists “[t]o develop good citizens in the United States of America by inspiring the youth of New Jersey to take a more active and intelligent interest in the operation of our State and Nation and in the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship and to understand the sacrifices made by our veterans to preserve our nation and way of life.”

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Attendees learn about local government, forge friendships at Boys State