Orestimba High senior Joshua Lucas represented his graduating class at this summer’s session of Boys State. The 17-year-old son of Martha Solis and John Lucas spent a week in July at Sacramento State, where leading students from across the state convened for Boys State, an American Legion-sponsored program which provides insight into how the country is governed while allowing delegates the opportunity to operate their own mock government.
Lucas was excited to be nominated for this experience and went into the interview with his best foot forward. “I had never heard of this program before being told I was nominated,” he recalls. “I did research before my interview and while I was nervous, I felt like I did well. I told myself that even if I didn’t get it, I was still proud to be nominated.”
Going into the session, Lucas had no idea what to expect. He remembered thinking it would be a week full of workshops and classrooms. However, he was surprised by how hands-on the session was.
“You learn about the government because you are your own government… you are your own nation,” he said.
Lucas tried to get involved in every way he could. He ran for various positions, including party chairman, chief administrative officer for his county, and assemblyman, and wound up winning the latter two.
Lucas also got involved in situations that allowed him to build skills that can help his academics. He noted that Boys State offered multiple debate opportunities on current topics such as border security and gun control. His advance research helped him be successful in those debates, Lucas said.
He was able to work on his public speaking skills during Boys State and is now much more comfortable in that role.
Boys State was enjoyable as well as educational, he emphasized.
The people he met and the friendships he gained over the course of the session were what made his time so enjoyable, Lucas shared. He loved being able to meet people from all over the state and learn about their backgrounds. “One guy from my ‘city’ came from a city of 50 people and his graduating class had eight people in it,” he shared.
Lucas said the Boys State participants were able to discuss and debate contentious issues without acrimony.
“While there were differences in opinions, everyone had a sense of the government and how things worked,” he remembered. “Because of this, we were able to communicate without any major misunderstandings.”
Being in that environment and learning all he did, Lucas said, his time at Boys State increased his interest in pursuing a future in politics.
He knows that he’ll be well prepared if he decides to go down that path because of this opportunity. “Boys State was definitely the best week of my life. It was fun, beneficial, and teaches you [about the government] in a way that no other program can teach you,” he concluded.
Editor’s note: Stories on
local Girls State delegates will appear in a future edition.