Mills elected Ag Commissioner at Boy State

Published 8:00 am Sunday, June 25, 2023

Crenshaw Christian Academy senior Drake Mills represented Crenshaw Christian Academy (CCA) as an Alabama Boys State delegate the week of May 28 – June 2 at Troy University’s Troy campus. During his week at the 86th annual conference, Mills was elected by his peers to the position of Commissioner of Agriculture.

“He was a credit to his community and to Crenshaw Christian Academy,” said a Boys State representative in a release to The Luverne Journal. “During his week, he served as an active citizen and official while learning about the responsibilities and benefits of citizenship in the State of Alabama and the United States.”

Mills is the son of Amy HIlburn and Roy Mills, Jr. of Rutledge. He is the fourth generation to work on his family’s farm and his Great Grandfather built the first chicken hatchery there, which was later purchased by ConAgra.

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He and Abbi Vickery were chosen to represent CCA at their respective Boys State and Girls State weeks this year.

“Alabama Boys and Girls State is one of the highest honors awarded to rising seniors,” said school administration in a social media post.

For Mill’s, Boy’s State brought him the opportunity to expand his skills and relationships.

“There were a lot of people there,” Mills said. “I’ve never seen that many people before, but I learned a lot and made some great friends.”

The Boys State Program is credited to Loyola University School of Law in Chicago instructor Hayes Kennedy, who was Americanism Chairman of the Illinois Department of the American Legion in 1935. Kennedy became concerned with a 1930 project called “Young Pioneer Camps” promoting Nazi, Fascist, and Communist ideals.

In June 1935, the Illinois Department of the American Legion approved Kennedy’s plan for a project promoting patriotism among American youths, and the first “Boys State” in the nation was held that same year.

Alabama Boys State began two years later, in 1937 and is conducted today in 49 states. The program aims to assist in training youths in the ideals and objectives of American government through summer programs which include speakers and hands-on experiences in a model state government.

Boys State delegates had the chance to run for seven statewide offices, and Mills said he ran for Commissioner of Agriculture because of his and his family’s background in the industry.

“I ran for a party’s primary and then moved on to the election,” Mills said. “Everybody that I’ve ever known has had something to do with agriculture. It just kind of made sense for me to run [for the office.]”

CCA Headmaster Becky Baggett the school selected Mills as a Boys state delegate due to his academic record, good character, and athletic ability.

“Drake is an excellent student and very dedicated to his academics as well as an outstanding athlete,” Baggett said. “He is a good example of the character traits we try to instill in our students and for all these reasons he was our choice to represent CCA at Boys State.”

American Legion leaders aim to keep America strong for future generations by teaching youth to understand and appreciate the basic principles involved in successfully managing a democratic society. Participation in the event which takes place at Troy University each year is a privilege conveyed by invitation. Delegates are selected by their school faculty and community leaders for their demonstration of leadership, hard work, strong morals, and motivation.

“We are so proud of him and his being chosen as Ag Commissioner,” Baggett said. “He is a real leader like our world needs today.”