AUSTIN, Texas – The Department of Texas of the American Legion announced that Coleman Beddingfield, a junior at Waxahachie High School, has graduated from American Legion Boys State, Department of Texas, better known simply as Texas Boys State.

Beddingfield was sponsored by the local American Legion to represent the city of Waxahachie. At Boys State, he was elected by his peers as both a State Delegate and a Senator.

Begun in 1935, Boys State is a unique program that educates future leaders about government, civics and patriotism in a “learn by doing” environment.

Each delegate has just finished his junior year of high school and was hand-picked by teachers, counselors and local American Legion posts throughout Texas to attend this one week seminar.??

During the week, the delegates were evenly split into fictional parties of Nationalist and Federalists. Each party drafted a party platform, elected party officials, nominated candidates via primary elections and contested a general election against the rival party and its candidates.

The delegates ran for many kinds of offices including state, district, county and city. The highlight of the week for those elected to the Texas Boys State House of Representative and Senate was when they were seated in the chambers of the Texas Capitol and allowed to craft, debate and vote on mock legislation.

This year the delegates heard from more than 50 distinguished speakers, ranging from State Senators Eddie Lucio Jr. and Royce West, to State Rep. James White and former Vietnam P.O.W. Ken Wallingford.

Other keynote speakers were former CIA officer James Olson and Brigadier General Joe E. Ramirez Jr.??

Texas Boys State concluded with a morning parade from the University of Texas at Austin campus to the Texas State Capitol. After the parade, the delegates toured the capitol, visited the offices of their state senators and representatives and were addressed by Governor Rick Perry.

For more information on Boys State, visit www.TexasBoysState.com.