American Legion Honors MHS Students

American Legion Post 323 winners of the Americanism and Government Test Program, from left, Brandon Anthony, Kalie Gayer, Morgan Henschen and Eddie Fowler, were each recognized by the legion on Wednesday.
Managing Editor

Six St. Marys Memorial High School students were recognized on Wednesday for winning the American Legion Post 323 Americanism and Government Test.

The Americanism and Government Test program is a 50-question test open to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. The questions comprise of true or false, multiple choice and fill-in the blank.

Students recognized by the legion on Wednesday included: 10th grade: Brandon Anthony and Konnor Houston; 11th grade: Preston Hinkle and Kalie Gayer and 12th grade: Eddie Fowler and Morgan Henschen.

Anthony and Houston both made it past the American Legion Post level and advanced to the county level but did not advance further.

“In the next two years, we expect you to go up the next level and just keep on moving up,” said Public Relations Chairman John McJunkin.

The Americanism and Government Test program is a joint venture and partnership with the Ohio American Legion Auxiliary, which is a cosponsor of the program, and the Ohio American Legion.

The test is designed to test an individual student’s knowledge of the following: The United States flag, the Declaration of Independence, he United States Constitution, state, county, city, township, village and school district government in Ohio.

On average, more than 65,000 students participate in the test program annually.

Through a number of judging levels in the state of Ohio to select post, county and district winners, the initial field of 65,000 students is narrowed to 84 district winners, whose winning test papers are submitted to a State Judging Committee for this program.

The State Award from the Ohio American Legion for the 18 state winners is a five-day, all expenses paid trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Washington DC under the direction of the Department Americanism Director, accompanied by representatives of the Ohio American Legion and Ohio American Legion Auxiliary.

Two students who advanced to Buckeye Girls State — seniors Clare Caywood and Henschen — spoke about their experiences of being state winners.

Henschen said one of the things that sparked her interest was learning more about the Ohio State Highway Patrol. She was one of 20 of the 900 girls who were in the program made it to state programs such as the state patrol.

“Learning what all the patrolmen do was fascinating,” Henchsen said. “Every day we would start with a bunch of exercises and core workouts and we also ran in two lines and chanted. Our jobs would be that we had to make sure that everyone was following the rules, we did drug tests and learned about the patrol’s drug dogs.

“We also talked about different job fields that you can go into when you become a highway patrolman so we had detectives come in talked to us about what they did and about their average days.”

Caywood said she ran for a county position and she landed the county commissioner gig.

“Going into it, I wasn’t sure about government, but I was excited to learn more about it,” she added. “Our main job of preparing the county budget and making a county book, which had our county flower, our county bird and we could make up whatever we wanted so our theme was a tropical theme.”

As part of the tropical theme, Caywood said the county bird was a toucan and a palm tree was the county’s tree. She said it was neat to see the kind of job the community do.

“It was really eye opening to see a bunch of young girls interested in the government and just how passionate everyone was by the end of the week to represent their state, city and county,” she added.