WEST HARTFORD — Eli Wizevich, a senior at Conard High School, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Samsung Scholarship Award presented at the 2019 Boys State ceremonies held at Eastern Connecticut State University in late June. Wizevich said, “Boys State was one of the most fun and important weeks I have experienced. I was able to work with other dedicated boys my age in my city, my party, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. I was pleased to take what I had learned in and out of school about civic engagement to pass bills, make rulings, and work on party platforms.” Wizevich said it was an honor to receive the award as his grandfather had served in WWII and Korea.
Worldwide electronics leader Samsung endowed a scholarship fund of $5 million to be administered by The American Legion in 1996. Meant to show appreciation for U.S. veterans who came to Korea’s aid during its struggle against communist forces in the Korean War, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship Program established a series of scholarships derived from interest and other income from the principal amount. To date, the Samsung American Legion Scholarship has awarded more than $5.5 million to approximately 2,069 applicants
Attendees of the 2019 Boys State Convention sponsored by American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 included: John Zehr and Eli Wizevich — Conard High School; Jack Gaumer — Hall High School.
The 2019 American Legion Girls State convention was held at Post University in Waterbury and attended by six incoming seniors from local high schools. The attendees were sponsored by American Legion Post 96 Auxiliary to attend one of the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students.
Recipients of the 2019 Girls State awards were: Sophia Giuffria — Farmington High School; Katherine George and Sophie Ennis — Hall High School; Catherine Wilcox, Katherine Dudley, and Isabel Mortillaro — NW Catholic High School.
Girls and Boys State is a participatory program where each delegate becomes part of the operation of his local, county and state government. At American Legion Girls State and Boys State participants are exposed to the rights and privileges, the duties and the responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs
The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the Four Pillars of a Strong National Security, Veterans Affairs, Americanism, and Youth Programs. With a current membership of over 2 million veterans, Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation. Hayes-Velhage Post 96 of West Hartford has been serving our Veterans and Community since 1922.
Recently, there has been a change in the rules of the National Service Act (LEGION Act), signed by the President that allows for millions of additional Veterans to access American Legion programs and benefits, for which they previously had not been eligible. Prior to this signing, only veterans of war-time periods, as defined by Congress, were qualified for membership. The gaps in the war eras were largely during the Cold War, a time when threats to U.S. national security was real, especially to the men and women serving in uniform. Recognizing the eligibility for the service of these “peace-time” veterans for their efforts now qualifies them for membership in the American Legion.