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The American Legion offers a number of scholarships and other resources to assist young people in their pursuit of higher education. Each year, the Legion facilitates the awarding of millions of dollars in scholarships to high school students. There are opportunities for everyone, including kin of wartime veterans and participants in Legion programs. The Legion also publishes a valuable resource in “Need a Lift?” – a comprehensive guide to seeking and obtaining scholarships.
Boys State Scholarship
American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program where each participant becomes a part of the operation of his local, county and state government.
Boys State has been a program of The American Legion since 1935 when it organized to counter the Fascist inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a similar program for young ladies called Girls State. At American Legion 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.
High school juniors are selected by local American Legion Posts to attend the program. In most cases, expenses associated with attending this program are paid by a sponsoring American Legion Post, a local business or another community-based organization.
American Legion Boys State is currently conducted in 49 Departments of The American Legion. Hawaii does not conduct a program. As separate corporations, Boys States vary in content and method of procedure, but each and every Boys State adheres to the basic concept of the program - that of teaching government from the township to the state level.
Samsung American Legion Scholarship
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. In 2010, 10 $20,000 scholarships and 88 $1,000 scholarships were awarded.
Scholarships are restricted to high school juniors who complete either a Boys State or Girls State program and are a direct descendant - i.e. child, grandchild, great grandchild, etc. - or a legally adopted child of a wartime veteran who served on active duty during at least one of the periods of war officially designated as eligibility dates for American Legion membership.
Samsung scholarships are for undergraduate study only and may be used for tuition, books, fees, and room and board. Winners are selected according to academic record, involvement in school and community activities, community service and financial need. Applicants who are direct descendants of Korean War veterans will receive special consideration.
The American Legion Legacy Scholarship
The American Legion wants to ensure higher education is a possibility for children whose parents have been killed in service our country. It is a civic duty to provide them with equal opportunity. The Legion offers its support through the Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Donations are made from post around the world, individual members and patriotic supporters. Donations go direct into the Legacy Scholarship trust fund, which earns interest to be used for scholarships. Currently, the fund’s principal is $4.8 million. In 2011, $49,975 in aid was distributed to students.
The national treasurer, with the National Finance Commission’s approval, determines the interest amount available for scholarship funding. By resolution, the National Americanism Commission is empowered to establish further rules, regulations and guidelines for the selection and awarding of scholarships with emphasis on financial need, leadership, scholarship and citizenship. The National Americanism Commission has delegated these duties to the National Committee on Education, which implements the scholarship program.
NationalHigh SchoolOratorical Contest Scholarship
The Oratorical Contest presents participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation's laws, the ability to think and speak clearly, and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship
Scholarships are awarded to the three finalists. First place receives $18,000, second gets $16,000 and third takes $14,000.
Each individual state winner certified into and participating in the first round of the national contest receives a $1,500 scholarship.