BOWLING GREEN - This week, about 1,144 Ohio high school students came together for the 78th annual American Legion Buckeye Boys State program at Bowling Green State University.
Forty-three local boys were delegates at the seven-day mock government program, known as one of the largest American Legion programs in the country.
The program began June 8 and students are to graduate Sunday.
PHOTO BY NICOLE WALBY
Adam Alexander, city auditor for Estepp, works on balance accounts for the city’s budget Thursday during the 78th annual American Legion Buckeye Boys State mock government program.
"Throughout the week, the boys experienced how the government worked and experienced the operation of a democratic two-party system at the local, county and state levels," said Jim Koppin, who works in the BBS Public Relations Department.
Gov. John Kasich. Kasich talked to delegates Thursday and signed a higher education bill that bases funding on the number of students who graduate, not the number enrolled.
"For you to be here at Buckeye Boys State means you all are some of the best and most promising here in Ohio," Kasich said. "Everyone here has something very special, a purpose and a gift. It is all about making a difference and you all have the ability to build a much stronger Ohio and a much stronger United States."
Delegates also participated in legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, Buckeye Boys State Band and recreational time.
Old Fort High School junior Jeremiah Miller served in the State Department of Agriculture as the farmland, education and preservation deputy director for the fictional city of Estepp.
Miller said he heard about Buckeye Boys State from students who said it changed their lives.
In his position, Miller said he discussed issues such as oil fracking, restoration, diseases affecting agriculture, new regulations and promotion of agriculture weeks in schools.
"The importance of learning about agriculture in schools is that everyone needs to know where their food comes from," Miller said.
As a result of his Boys State experience, Miller said he might pursue a career in politics.
"Being a part of this program has opened me up to many more opportunities," he said. "I have gotten to learn about how elections are done and how the government works in real world aspects."
Green Springs native Adam Alexander, also an Old Fort junior, was elected city auditor of Estepp.
Alexander said two older brothers attended Boys State.
So far, Alexander said he has had a great experience.
"As the auditor, I have to work with the city treasurer and mayor on the city's budget," he said. "There is a lot of government actions that I have never thought about and I had not realized it would be this complex. I have found a new respect for city officials."
Alexander said he isn't planning on a career in politics, but he said he has enjoyed Boys State and has made new friends.
"For those looking into the program, I'd say to definitely do it, even if they're not looking to go into politics. It is worth it," Alexander said.
According to information provided by Buckeye Boys State, other local students who attended and the post that sent them include:
Wesley Pipher, Hayden Patton and Seth Martin, Attica; Brady McWilliams, Elliot Snyder and Cory Huddleston, Bellevue; Austin Wurm and Timothy Showman, Bloomville; Austin James and David Murphy, Bradner; Zachary Logsdon, Brady Mullholand and Noah McCartney, Carey; Daniel Barrett, Miguel Delgado, Matthew Gerber, Collin Mange, Jacob Roach, Nolan Rosen and Mason Wills, Clyde; Ricky Taulker and Trenton Burns, Fostoria; Matthew Webb and Austin Baker, Green Springs; Seth Ollis and Kenneth Kaple, New Washington; Alexander Beleny, John Burtis, Jared Coleman, Aaron Fuhrer, Spencer Franklin, Grant Gosche, Matthew Kelbley, Elliot Phillimore, Grant Reinbolt, Brandon Rhoades, Ross Sears, Michael Smith and Jacob Wilson, Tiffin; and Nicholas Ried and Thomas Griffin, Upper Sandusky.