Local Student Bound for D.C.

Wheeling Park High School’s Blake Humphrey is going to Washington, D.C., in July to represent West Virginia in the annual American Legion Boys Nation government simulation.

From July 19-27, Humphrey and fellow state representative Jim Park will attend lectures and forums, visit federal agencies and landmarks and meet with President Barack Obama.

“Basically it’s a big civics lesson to go to Washington and represent the state in the Boys Nation Senate,” Humphrey said. “I was lucky enough to be selected.”

Humphrey, who will be a senior in the fall, is no stranger to government. The 17-year-old is senior class president for Wheeling Park’s Class of 2014, has served as student ambassador to the West Virginia Board of Education and worked as an intern with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va.

In the state-level American Legion Boys State, Humphrey said the representatives were divided into “National” and “Federalist” political parties. He was elected Federal Party chairman by his peers while he was there.

“I ran meetings for the party and became a member of the platform drafting committee,” Humphrey said. “That helped me get into the Boys Nation.”

To be chosen for the Boys Nation, Humphrey said he underwent an interview alongside young men from all across the state.

He said all participants came before a panel of five American Legion members who asked them a series of 10 questions ranging from knowledge of parliamentary procedure to thoughts and perceptions on the American flag.

Two senators, Humphrey and Park, were announced with two alternate senators held in reserve in case of emergency.

John Nanny is a member of Wheeling American Legion Post 1, which Humphrey will represent in Washington.

“This is only the third Boys Nation participant we’ve had,” Nanny said. “Post 1 is extremely proud.”

Every year, Nanny said, he travels to the Boys State events.

This year Wheeling sent 18 representatives to the program at Jackson’s Mill, Nanny said, from Wheeling Park, The Linsly School and Wheeling Catholic Central High School.

Having been old friends with Humphrey’s grandfather, Arnold Lazarus, Nanny said he is excited about the young man’s success.

“He’s really got a lot on the ball,” Nanny said.

“I do have a love for this city and this state,” Humphrey added.

After graduating high school, Humphrey said he plans to study political science and economics at West Virginia University. He then hopes to return to the Ohio Valley, raise a family and remain active in the community.