Boys State, the annual summer gathering of Virginia high school students studying government, is not being held in Lynchburg for the first time in more than 40 years.
Instead, about 800 rising seniors assembled Sunday at Radford University for the start of a week of political activities that include electing their own governor, sheriffs and other political figures.
They'll also hear speeches from Gov. Bob McDonnell, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, as well as state legislators, mayors, police officials and more.
The counterpart program, Girls State, is being held at its usual location, Longwood University in Farmville.
Chuck Cunningham, spokesman for American Legion Boys State, said the organization wasn't able to hold the event in Lynchburg because an extensive construction program at Liberty University reduced the available dormitory space.
The organization instead signed a multi-year agreement to hold the boys' program at Radford.
Cunningham said he didn't know how long the agreement lasts or when the program might return to Lynchburg.
The Boys State event, now in its 71st year, started being held at Lynchburg College about 40 years ago and for several years has been held at Liberty University.
At previous events, political speakers at the event have used the opportunity to discuss their platforms and key talking points with an audience of students still forming their political identities.
In 2011, McDonnell used his hurried visit to talk about federal government debt and spending. Later in the day, Cuccinelli told the rising seniors that he doesn't always agree with the legal opinions he has signed, particularly on Second Amendment issues, but he stays true to the law "whether I like it or not."
Bolling is scheduled is scheduled to host an instructional session on Wednesday on the office of lieutenant governor. McDonnell will speak about his own office Thursday, and Cuccinelli will speak on being attorney general Tuesday.
Sunday's keynote address came from Rear Adm. William Cobb, who also spoke to the 2008 session. That year, he told the 800-some high school students in attendance that they, in fact, were the nation's greatest generation.
"You're going to be our leaders. You're going to solve our problems," the former Navy man said. "... You're the best. Act like it. Strut your stuff."