Senior Blackwood to represent Georgia in Boys Nation

Rising senior Benjamin Blackwood has been selected to represent Georgia at Boys Nation, one of the most prestigious youth leadership programs in the United States. Boys Nation is an extremely selective program sponsored by the American Legion that brings together 100 high school students from across the country to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long experience. Participants, known as “senators,” learn about the structure and function of the federal government through immersive activities, including legislative sessions, elections, and meetings with high-ranking government officials.

“I am excited for Ben to have this amazing and prestigious opportunity,” said Michael Arjona, Walker Assistant Head of School for Academics and the Head of the Upper School. “Ben is an excellent representative of Walker with his enthusiasm for learning and for life and his ability to engage all members of the Walker community." 
Blackwood earned this coveted spot through his exemplary performance at Georgia Boys State in June. During the week-long program, he was elected District Attorney of his County before being elevated to the position of Supreme Court Justice by his peers from across the state.

The selection process for Boys Nation is rigorous. Several young men who distinguish themselves during Boys State are invited to interview with a selection committee. The committee makes the final decision based on the candidate’s commitment to the learning journey, active participation, leadership potential, and dedication to the Boys State program.

“Being selected for Boys Nation is an incredible honor,” Blackwood said. “I am thrilled to represent Georgia and have this valuable opportunity to learn firsthand about our government and the legislative process.”

Blackwood’s impressive resume includes a diverse array of leadership roles and community involvement. He is a Life Scout working toward earning the Eagle Scout rank this fall, an accomplished debater who recently attended the prestigious Emory Debate Institute, and a lead actor in the school musical “Grease.” Additionally, he led a community service project that provided over 500 meals to local families in need, mentors students transitioning from middle to high school as a Step-Up Ambassador, and serves as the treasurer of the Latin Club.

Benjamin’s international background has significantly shaped his perspective on leadership and service. Having lived in South Africa from 2013 to 2018, he participated in meal-packing events with Stop Hunger Now, an organization devoted to eliminating hunger in South Africa. This experience, combined with his travels to Europe and Asia, has given him a unique adaptability and global awareness that he brings to his leadership roles.

Despite facing significant physical challenges, Benjamin has shown remarkable perseverance and adaptability, excelling in academics and extracurricular activities. His ability to overcome obstacles with a positive attitude has earned him the nickname “the mayor” within the school community.

“American Legion Post 140 is very proud of Ben. He is the first in decades that has gone to Boys Nation and will represent us well,” said Dale Hajost of American Legion Post 1409.

Benjamin aspires to study History and Public Policy, with the goal of pursuing a career in public service. 
Boys Nation will take place from July 19-27, in Washington, D.C. Blackwood joins an elite group of past Boys Nation graduates that includes former president Bill Clinton, former vice president Dick Cheney and numerous congressional leaders, judges and other figures across government and private industry.
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