Two Omaha Creighton Prep High School classmates are spending this week in Washington, D.C. as delegates to the American Legion Boys Nation. The two credit their teachers for the honor.
Davis Erker and John Hogue are among the 98 "senators" chosen from 49 states (Hawaii excluded) out of hundreds of applicants. For both senators to be from the same hometown is unusual. For them to share a common school is rarer still.
Do their teachers deserve credit? “Definitely!” said Hogue. “Tom Haindfield (social studies teacher) did a fantastic job.” Hogue also praised Creighton faculty member Vince Strand. “He was a huge influence on me, encouraging me to be curious about the world. He’s just fantastic.”
Erker added the name of English teacher Barbara Hake. “She has helped me hone my thinking skills, not just my writing skills. (She’s) definitely helped me process things in multiple perspectives. She also assigned us a project this year to follow a columnist for six weeks and that’s what really got me involved in the political system.”
The influence of Mrs. Hake’s lessons was evident when Erker was asked about his educational and career ambitions. “I was thinking before this week (about) maybe something in investment and wealth management, but now at this point I’m going to at least double in political science because I want to explore the options that are out there in this field. I really enjoy talking with people and seeing how they think about things.”
“I would like to study philosophy in college,” said Hogue. “Where that will take me, I don’t know."
Boys Nation is a signature program of The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization. It provides participants with a full immersion, seven-day, dawn 'til after dusk, hands-on education in national politics and the legislative process.
Activities include mock party conventions, legislative elections, debates, speech making and tours of Capitol Hill. While on the Hill, delegates visit the offices of their state's respective members of Congress and present bills of their own creation.