This summer, Ronald Taylor, a senior at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, along with the 990 high school juniors attended the New York Boys’ State, held at SUNY Morrisville. At Boy’s State, Taylor took part in the New York Boys’ State governor election. Taylor’s journey to become governor started off successfully when he won his party’s nomination. After he was nominated, Taylor took part in intense debates with the other candidates. After the debates, Taylor was elected the New York Boys’ State governor. Taylor was excited about his victory and accomplishment, “A feeling of pure excitement and joy filled my system. I had done it. After all of the hard work, debating, theorizing, and speechwriting, I was finally able to claim the position and represent the class of 2011,” Taylor said.
After Taylor’s win, he was informed that he was going to be attending Boys’ Nation, a program that contains 98 students from around the United States. Taylor made history with his election win and trip to Boys’ Nation: he became the first ever student from Nassau County to become governor and attend Boys’ Nation. He was also the first Holy Trinity student to become governor and attend Boys’ Nation, and he became the first African American governor or Boys’ State.
Boys’ Nation was held at Marymount University in Maryland. At Boys’ Nation, Taylor and the other 97 students took part in conversations about health care reform, taxes, Reaganomics, welfare, and public policy. Along with the debates and conversation, Taylor and the other students got the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama. Obama spoke to the students about leadership, pride and Americanism. Taylor had the experience of a lifetime and learned a lot about himself when h e attended both New York Boys’ State and Boys’ Nation. “Boys’ State and Boys’ Nation were truly an experience of a lifetime. I learned that the change I want to see in the world starts and continues from my own actions,” Taylor said. “I have no excuse to be less than my utmost potential for I am a unique creation that God created.”
American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high-school students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government, Boys State was founded in 1935 to counter the socialism-inspired Young Pioneer Camps. The program was the idea of two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card, who organized the first Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of franchised citizens. The training is objective and centers on the structure of city, county and state governments. Operated by students elected to various offices, Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.
The first Boys Nation – then called Boys Forum of National Government – convened at American University in Washington in August 1946. The 1946 American Legion National Convention adopted the event as an official youth activity. Three years later, it became American Legion Boys Nation. Two representatives from each of the 49 Boys States represent their state at Boys Nation in Washington, where the young leaders receive an education on the structure and function of federal government. At the event, each delegate acts as a senator from his Boys State. The young lawmakers caucus at the beginning of the session, then organize into committees and conduct hearings on bills submitted by program delegates. Senators learn the proper method of handling bills, according to U.S. Senate rules. Participation in the political process is emphasized throughout the week, including organization of party conventions and nominating and electing a president and vice president. The week of government training also includes lectures, forums and visits to federal agencies, institutions, memorials and historical sites. On Capitol Hill, Boys Nation senators meet with elected officials from their home states. Since Boys Nation began in 1946, a number of its graduates have been elected to public office, including presidents, congressmen, state governors and state legislators. Many others have been inspired to work for the campaigns of individuals seeking public office.
Holy Trinity High School is a private, co-educational Catholic high school founded in 1966 drawing students from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties. It has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education Exemplary Schools Program and is nationally known for its outstanding Performing Arts program. For more information, visit www.holytrinityhs.org.