LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Four new “Schools of Instruction” will serve as foundations for the Arkansas Boys State curriculum, with pilots of these schools launching during the 2021 session.
The schools will house a series of taught and experiential learning opportunities for delegates and will focus on a specific segment of Arkansas Boys State. These four schools include Public Administration, Commerce, Society and the Arts, and Public Service and Politics.
Learning goals for the schools include adapting experiential and simulation-based learning experiences for delegates to partake in throughout the week of Arkansas Boys State. Delegates will rank their school preferences upon registering for the program and will participate in these schools with like-minded peers. The schools’ curriculum will supplement and enhance the election-focused activities of Arkansas Boys State, in which delegates establish a local, county, and state government from the ground-up over the course of the week.
Arkansas Boys State is also proud to announce the appointment of four people to serve as Deans for the newly created Schools of Instruction. Each Dean serves as the school’s manager, shepherding the design, development, and implementation of the school’s curriculum.
Blake Brizzolara, Dean of the School of Public Administration
About the School of Public Administration: focused on the operation of municipal, county, and state governments.
About Blake: Blake was a 2009 delegate to Arkansas Boys State and rejoins the team after having previously served as a junior and state counselor. Blake is an attorney at Friday, Eldredge & Clark LLP and lives in Rogers, Arkansas.
“During my time as a counselor, I saw the program continue to evolve and give delegates the space to learn about a wide variety of topics. I think that this position will allow me the opportunity to help continue that growth for Boys State, and I’m excited to be on the team that will push Boys State forward. It has been several years since the last time I was a counselor, and I am excited about working with the staff again. I’m also looking forward to seeing how our team adds to a program that impacts so many young men.”
Kameron Lunon, Dean of the School of Society and the Arts
About the School of Society and the Arts: focused on activities that are essential to the functioning of a democracy, including journalism, issue advocacy, and the visual arts.
About Kameron: Kameron was a 2007 delegate to Arkansas Boys State and has previously served as a junior, state, and senior counselor. Kameron is an assistant professor at McNeese State University and lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
“I was motivated to apply for this role with Arkansas Boys State because becoming more involved with the program’s curriculum while incorporating my passion for the arts sounded like the perfect new opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing the end result of what we do here because not only will it enhance the delegate experience, but it will also push the limits of what we will be capable of doing in the years that follow.”
JJ Thompson, Dean of the School of Commerce
About the School of Commerce: focused on the relationship between the economy and our civic and social life.
About JJ: JJ was a 2008 delegate to Arkansas Boys State, where he was elected Arkansas Boys State Governor. JJ is the co-owner of TLC Tutoring Co. and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“I believe that commerce — when properly fostered and tempered by rational policy — is humanity’s path towards an egalitarian future. Moreover, I live for dialogue, and this role will allow me to engage in dialogue with delegates about topics of great importance.”
J.P. Gairhan, Dean of the School of Public Service and Politics
About the School of Public Service and Politics: focused on legislative and executive aspects of municipal, county, and state governance.
About J.P.: J.P. was a 2014 delegate to Arkansas Boys State, where he was elected Boys Nation Senator and represented Arkansas at Boys Nation in Washington DC. J.P. is a Student Success VISTA with the Sunflower County Freedom Project and lives in Greenwood, Mississippi.
“Thinking back on the impact of my delegate year and the personal/professional growth sprung from my own delegate and staff experience, I am especially motivated to take on the School of Public Service and Politics assignment. Too often our political culture is deprived of meaningful service to others. We all can stand to refocus our civic engagement back towards the intentional service of community and others, and through that, our political culture will be shaped for the better.
“I’m looking forward to diving back into the mindset of a delegate. What is a rising senior in high school thinking? How is the world influencing them? What can our program do to expand their world and shape their perspective on the key issues of our day? These questions excite me and I ultimately want to help prepare a curriculum that leaves the delegates with a greater understanding of their communities and the country that they live in.”
Arkansas Boys State is an immersive program in civics education designed for high school juniors. Since 1940, the week-long camp has transformed the next generation of leaders throughout our state and beyond. These young men have gone on to become state, national, and international leaders, including President Bill Clinton, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator John Boozman, and Arkansas Chief Justice John Dan Kemp — just to name a few.
During their week at Arkansas Boys State, delegates are assigned a political party, city, and county. Throughout the week, delegates, from the ground up, administer this mock government as if it were real: they run for office, draft and pass legislation, solve municipal challenges, and engage constituents. By the week’s end, the delegates have experienced civic responsibility and engagement firsthand while making life-long memories and friends — all with our guiding principle that “Democracy Depends on Me.”