One teenage boy wanted to learn more about government before he applied for the Air Force Academy.

A Franklin student heard about his mom’s experience at a similar program and decided to apply.

Seven local students have been chosen for Hoosier Boy’s State, a government simulation program based at Trine University. Students who attend work for a week having elections, writing and negotiating bills and learning about state government.

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Joe Leistner, David Ryan and Preston Rahim of Whiteland Community High School; Lucas Marr and Wyatt and Dimitri Taylor of Franklin; Zak Murphy of Edinburgh and Brett Boswell and Ryan Alt of Center Grove will go to Angola for a week this summer to learn how Indiana government works.

American Legions across the state typically sponsor local teenage boys who have completed their junior year of high school to take part in the program.

Leistner, Ryan and Rahim were chosen through the Greenwood American Legion that annually sponsors students for the event, said Ken Hall, commander of American Legion Post No. 252.

Most of the boys said they wanted to get the experience of learning about government, Hall said.

The American Legion was originally going to sponsor two students, but after interviewing all three, Hall deemed them all worthy of participating in the program, he said.

During the program, hundreds of students break up into two political parties where they will then learn about how county and state government functions.

The students who applied said they wanted that look and experience to help them with their goals after high school, students said.

Joe Leistner wants to go into the Air Force Academy after he graduates Whiteland Community High School. The academy cites this experience as one that will help prepare students for the rigor of the academy. He decided to apply.

“They are important life skills,” he said. “They really get you ahead in life.”

Leistner heard about the different view points people represent and is eager to take what he learns to help him with his academy application, he said.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people and expanding my horizons,” he said.

Wyatt Taylor is going as one of three delegates who will represent Franklin. Between 550 and 650 boys are expected to attend in June.

Taylor heard his mom talk about how much she learned and how much fun she has at a similar program and decided to get involved.

“I am at a blank on how the government works. I am hoping to get a lot out of it,” he said.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at or 317-736-2770.