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University High School rising senior Jayden Seaton earned a position as one of two Indiana delegates from Hoosier Boys State to participate in Boys Nation in Washington D.C. from July 21-28. 

Boys State, an educational program presented by The American Legion U.S. Veterans organization, is a selective educational program focused on government instruction for junior-aged high school students. Participants in the annual Boys State event actively collaborate to practice leadership qualities and real-world skills by creating a “functional state government based on Indiana’s political process.”

American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State.

Jayden, who just completed his junior year at University, earned a sponsorship to attend the 2023 Hoosier Boys State from his local American Legion chapter in Avon.

Jayden and other students receiving scholarships to Hoosier Boys State from the Avon American Legion. Photo courtesy of the Seaton family. 

“I originally heard of Boys State through my parents and friends of my parents and was immediately interested in something that would encourage leadership and participation in our political process,” said Jayden. “I wanted to engage with other rising seniors on the issues and politics of our state and establish a mock government.”

2023 Hoosier Boys State Photo at Trine University. Photo courtesy of Hoosier Boys State. 

During the week-long program, which took place June 11-17 in Angola, IN, Jayden and his fellow participants established platforms for two made-up political parties, attended ‘county meetings,’ participated in elections, proposed laws, negotiated bills, and more. 

“When I got there, I was assigned to a county, city, and political party. I was made Precinct Chairman for Precinct #1 of Delaney City. These Precinct chairs deliberated amongst themselves and decided who the county chairman would be,” said Jayden. “I was chosen by vote to be the Vice-County Chairman.”

Jayden Seaton at 2023 Hoosier Boys State at Trine University. Photo courtesy of Hoosier Boys State. 

Jayden and his fellow Boys State participants held party conventions to determine the state-level candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Sec. of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Auditor. During the program’s primary election, Jayden was voted to be one of the party candidates to move onto the State Senate election. 

“Wednesday was the big day. The General Election Day. On Tuesday, we waited in lines to vote as each county had people from both parties as a part of the Election Board Committee who oversaw and tabulated the election results,” said Jayden. “I was elected as a City Councilman for Delaney City.”

Jayden Seaton at 2023 Hoosier Boys State at Trine University. Photo courtesy of Hoosier Boys State. 

At the conclusion of Boys State, Jayden was one of two participants chosen for the Breedlove Award, which is named after the founding Director of Hoosier Boys State, Barney W. Breedlove. The two Breedlove Award winners are also the delegates sent to Boys Nation. During the closing ceremony, the Director and Deans for Hoosier Boys State announced that Jayden and one other delegate were chosen. In the words of the Director of Hoosier Boys State, Jayden “stood out leagues above his peers.”

2023 Hoosier Boys State Breedlove Award winners. Photo courtesy of the Seaton family. 

At Boys Nation next month, Jayden will represent Indiana and act as a senator on behalf of Hoosier Boys State. Representatives of 49 states will receive an education on the structure and function of the federal government. 

The week-long program will also include lectures, visits to federal agencies, institutions, and historical sites, as well as meet with elected officials from their home states. Jayden looks forward to meeting peers from other states and hearing their ideas. He also hopes to learn how the U.S. Senate functions more intimately while in Washington D.C.

Hoosier Boys State fulfills the civics requirement for Indiana Department of Education’s Graduation Pathways Diploma. This fall, Jayden plans on applying to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, in addition to other college applications. He is looking into a career in the Space Force and majoring in astrophysics. 

Jayden Seaton at 2023 Hoosier Boys State at Trine University. Photo courtesy of Hoosier Boys State. 

“I learned so much [at Boys State] that I could probably write a paper on it. I learned the importance of communication and networking, being able to make deals and compromise was very key each and every day,” said Jayden. 

“One of my strongest and largest takeaways–I urge whoever wishes to fight for the rights and ideals they believe in, is that you have to be willing to discuss with those who disagree with you, no matter how much you vehemently disavow their ideals or policies. For our nation to constantly get better, there always needs to be discourse and discussion. So, I urge people who want to stand up and push for the ideas to discuss and argue and debate because that is the sign of a healthy democracy. Ultimately, despite our political views and disagreements we all still live in the same country and in some way want to improve it.” 

Congratulations and best of luck, Jayden!