Illinois treasurer named honorary citizen, student governor inaugurated during 83rd American Legion Premier Boys State

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, gives a speech during the 83rd American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State General Assembly and Governor Inauguration, Thursday night in Lantz Arena.

Analicia Haynes
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, gives a speech during the 83rd American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State general assembly and governor inauguration, Thursday night in Lantz Arena.

Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, was named an honorary citizen and a student was named Boys State governor Thursday evening during the 83rd American Legion Boys State general assembly and governor inauguration.

About 270 high school boys, who will all be seniors in the fall, cheered, laughed and goofed around with each other as if they were friends for a lifetime.

A “citizen” in Boys State, are members who are eligible to vote and hold office. Frerichs received the title honorarily because of his participation in the program. 

In his speech, Frerichs talked about his time participating in Boys State, what he learned from it, the obstacles he was able to overcome as a result from his experience and he encouraged the rising seniors to take what they have learned from Boys State and continue to work in their community.

After his speech, participants asked several questions ranging from “why is Illinois broke”  to “what do you think about our toaster? (as the audience member holds up a toaster).”

JD Collins, who was a member of “Kennedy County” a fictitious county created for Boys State, raises his hand to ask Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs a question during the 83rd Boys State general assembly, Thursday night in Lantz Arena. Collins held his hand and waited almost five minutes to be called on. Finally, after standing up still with his hand in the air, he was called on and asked Frerichs who his biggest competitor was. Frerichs said his older brother.

Analicia Haynes
JD Collins, who was a member of “Kennedy County” a fictitious county created for Boys State, raises his hand to ask Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs a question during the 83rd American Legion Boys State general assembly, Thursday night in Lantz Arena. Collins held his hand and waited almost five minutes to be called on. Finally, after standing up still with his hand in the air, he was called on and asked Frerichs who his biggest competitor was. Frerichs said his older brother.

Zhyon Parkman from Peoria was elected the 2018 Boys State Governor, and during his speech he called his mom to let her know the good news and to thank her for letting him attend.  

After saying “I love you” to his mom, Parkman looked to the audience and said “I love you guys, you’re all my brothers now.”

When asked what boys state meant to him, Parkman said it is a “gateway opportunity for life.”

“Now, because of Boys State, I actually got a scholarship, an interview for two more scholarships and an interview for the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. to meet the president. So, I believe it’s a great opportunity for the future and a very fun opportunity,” he said.

Originally, Parkman said after losing to two other positions he did not want to run for the governor position because he did not want to lose again.

Zhyon Parkman, from Peoria, was elected the 2018 Boys State Governor Thursday during the 83rd American Legion Boys State general assembly. During his speech he called his mom to let her know the good news and to thank her for letting him attend.   After saying “I love you” to his mom, Parkman looked to the audience and said “I love you guys, you’re all my brothers now.”

Analicia Haynes
Zhyon Parkman, from Peoria, was elected the 2018 Boys State Governor Thursday during the 83rd American Legion Boys State general assembly. During his speech he called his mom to let her know the good news and to thank her for letting him attend. After saying “I love you” to his mom, Parkman looked to the audience and said “I love you guys, you’re all my brothers now.”

“I was in my room moping and wasn’t planning on doing anything else and my whole floor came in my room and told me that if I don’t run for governor they were going to sue me and arrest me,” he said.

After some encouragement from his friends, he changed his mind.

“So i went for it and look at me now, I’m the governor,” he said.

Parkman said when he gets home, he already has a list of people he wants to recommend for next year.

Parkman will return to Boys State next year to be a counselor.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].