Academic events bring about 2,500 middle and high school students to Miami

By Margo Kissell, university news and communications


American Legion Buckeye Boys State 2017 participants vote for delegates, above, and run their City Council meetings, below (photos courtesy ALBBS Facebook page).

Two big academic events will bring about 2,500 middle school and high school students to the Miami University campus this summer.

Nearly 1,200 students participating in Buckeye Boys State will arrive at noon Sunday, June 10.

The program is an eight-day, hands-on experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Ohio government.

Next month, the campus will become home to 1,300 middle and high school students taking part in the National Junior Classical League’s (NJCL) national conference July 23-28.

Students will compete in areas such as testing (includes grammar, mythology, reading comprehension, Latin and Greek derivatives, Roman and Ancient Greek history), Certamen (Latin brain bowl), graphic arts, creative arts and Olympika events including running, swimming and track. A Roman procession on the last full day concludes with a Roman banquet.

“I hope students meet other students from around the country, enjoy the fellowship, excel in their competitions and see the variety of what the Classics, including Latin and Greek, have to offer,” said Catherine Sturgill, NJCL committee chair.

jcl-logoThe national convention moves from campus to campus each year. For years, Miami housed the American Classical League on campus.

“Having our national convention at Miami always feels like coming home,” she said.

Buckeye Boys State is back as well.

Last year, Miami began hosting the weeklong program sponsored by the Ohio American Legion, the largest veterans’ organization in the state.

Founded in 1936, Buckeye Boys State is the largest Boys State program in the nation, representing nearly 600 Ohio high schools, several online high schools and the home-schooled community.

The juniors will learn about city, county and state government through a nonpartisan objective education approach.

Randi Thomas, Miami’s director of institutional relations and a Buckeye Boys State alumnus, hopes the students get as much out of it as he did in 1982.

“It’s an awesome program. Every delegate in Buckeye Boys State runs for office; half will win and half will lose,” he said.

Although Thomas lost his race, he still gained much from that particular experience.

bbs-council“It taught me sometimes you don’t necessarily get the win that you want but you still have to be impactful,” he said.

The program takes place at several buildings across campus, including the Farmer School of Business and various residence halls which become their government “offices.”

The entire group will congregate each evening except Tuesday in Millett Hall. 

“They put a large footprint on campus,” said Kathy Crowley, associate director of marketing and campus services.

In order to accommodate all participants, Garden Commons will be restricted to Buckeye Boys State participants next week.

Dining will still be available at Maplestreet Commons and Armstrong Student Center