Kuban headed to ‘Premier Boys State’

RCHS JUNIOR Daniel Kuban was presented a check for $300 by Dale Fraher of American Legion Koca Post 39 in Braidwood to fund participation in the American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State, a week-long civics program which takes place on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in June. Photo by Marney Simon.

Marney Simon

When Daniel Kuban wraps up his school year at Reed-Custer this month, there’s still a week’s worth of important education waiting for him.

The RCHS junior, who turns 17 later this month, is set to attend this year’s American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State program at Eastern Illinois University in June, thanks to sponsorship from Braidwood American Legion Koca Post 39.

The Legion presented Kuban with a check for $300 on Tuesday to cover the cost of the event.

The program is an educational week of government instruction for high school students, where they learn by doing how to become part of the operation of city, county, and state governments

Kuban said he has had several family members attend the event, including his mother, aunt, uncle, great-uncle, and grandmother.

“I’ve heard about this for years. So, how my mom explained it, it’s kind of like student government,” Kuban said. “I want to go into college for teaching, but for my minor I want to go into political science. So, I figure this is going to be interesting to get some background for political science.”

The program is now a national program, but was founded in Illinois in 1935 to counter socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps.

Participants learn the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship through the program, during which fictional political parties are created and the citizens are randomly assigned to one.

This creates a hands-on political and governmental experiment where participants create and facilitate mock city, county, and state governments. During the week, participants work on legislative sessions, political party caucuses, elections, general assemblies, band concerts, law enforcement presentations, and recreational programs.

Kuban said he’s looking forward to the experience.

“Just to interact with different kids, see how their minds work, how government is portrayed from what I see from newspapers and TV versus other people,” Kuban said about what he hopes to learn. “And really just having fun.”

At RCHS, Kuban has participated in soccer and track, as well as band jazz band, NHS, student council, FCCLA, and speech. In the community, he volunteers as a referee with the soccer club and helps out with the BBSA.

It was his well rounded experience in high school and his interest in the program that made him a good candidate, members of the Legion added and guidance counselor Hayley Conley added.

“It just so happened that he expressed interest and he already is a good kid and a good student and well rounded to where it worked, he’s a perfect candidate,” Conley said.

The Legion’s sponsorship will cover Kuban’s registration, room and board fees for the week.

The program is open to both boys and girls, but participants must be high school juniors to apply.

The Braidwood American Legion Koca Post said they hope to sponsor one boy and one girl each year, but only received Kuban’s application this year. The hope is to garner more interest for the 2023 event.

Two participants from each Boys State and Girls State program are selected to go on and participate as Senators at Boys Nation and Girls Nation.

This year marks the 85th session of the American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State program. The event runs from June 11-17.