Texas Boys State 2018 Thursday and Friday Memoir: Learn By Doing
By Raleigh Dewan and Soham Datar
As I woke up on Thursday, the scratchy fiberglass fire blanket draped over me, it finally sunk in: Texas Boys State, the highlight of my life up to this point, was coming to a close. With a heavy heart, I exited the dorm and blended into to the mob of half-awake hungry statesmen migrating to the cafeteria. After quickly scarfing down the food, the political process began. Cities, led by their flags, departed the cafeteria and marched along the UT campus to their respective county and district conventions.
After three days of campaigning, it was time for the candidate's last shot at swaying their peers, by displaying their persuasive oratory skills. At these campaign rallies, the speeches ranged from composed, logical analyses to emotionally charged exhortations. After the county’s and district’s finished their business, statesmen headed to their final dinner, an exquisite meal composed of flavorful and juicy steak tenderloins with a side of buttery mashed potatoes and acidic greens to clean the palette. On behalf of all the statesmen, a big thank you to all the members of the UT cafeteria staff for providing delicious meals throughout this week.
After dinner concluded, the general election polls opened and flooded with eager statesmen ready to cast their vote. When the clock struck a quarter past seven, the polls closed and the boys headed to the auditorium to hear an address from keynote speaker, James Peake, about leadership, life in the military, and the future of America and Texas.
After Peake finished his address, the boys remained in their seats and enjoyed the annual Texas Boys State talent show, which featured entertaining acts like piano solos, a boy band performance, and even one statesmen solving a rubix cube on stage.
The boys then marched to the quad for the closing ceremony, which included a thought provoking newscast and the election results. As the winners of the county, district, and state elections were announced, the crowd roared in applause. As the final three state positions (attorney general, lieutenant governor, and governor) were declared, the federalists rose in a stance of victory, beating their chests in pride, as they swept all three positions.
After the elected governor made a small speech, a quiet murmur emerged from the statesmen, slowing growing in volume until the entire crowd was screaming with the force of a teenage boys, “JIM THE SCRIBE!” Soon, the Scribe was located within the midst of the mob and lifted upon the shoulders of the boys and was passed along until he reached the stage. Once there, he embraced his state officers and rose his hand in triumph.
About eight hours later on Friday morning, the statesmen reconvened in the quad, dreary partially due to physical and emotional exhaustion. Major General Retired and Vice Chancellor for Leadership and Veteran Affairs, Tony Cucolo, addressed how leadership requires an open mind and strong will. Proceeding this exceptional speech, many statesman headed to compete or spectate in the final City Olympiad, where talented statesmen displayed their athletic finesse.
At the same time, other statesmen journeyed to the college fair, where many colleges, such as University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, and Southwestern, among others, provided information and useful advice for the upcoming senior statesmen and their parents.
For the last time, the statesmen all gathered for the last general assembly. During this Texas Boys State program, statesmen have passed legislation, run electoral campaigns, and learned what it means to truly be an active participant in our governmental process.
They learned that democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people. At the end of the ceremony, the boys were transformed. They entered this Boys State program as unconnected high schoolers, but they will leave it united as statesmen.
To end this post, we would like to leave you with a quote that embodies the values of Texas Boys State, “True leaders understand that leadership is not about them but about those they serve. It is not about exalting themselves but lifting others up.” - Sheri L. Dew.