Rising seniors Xavier Williams and Brett Bettinger of Swanton High School attended Buckeye Boys State this year, at the 83rd annual session of the weeklong program at Miami University.
Williams and Bettinger were among nearly 1200 boys to attend. The attendees are split into cities and counties, where they can run for city or county positions to determine their role in the government simulation. Attendees can run for state positions as well, voted on by every boy at BBS.
While at Boys State, Williams was a member of Leonard City in Warner County. He ran for State School Board of Education; he was elected through his county but his level of government function was state. Williams campaigned using posters, social media, and grassroots campaigning- talking to his constituents about his platform and the issues he wanted to fix.
Williams said the highlight of Boys’ State for him was the bond he made with his fellow citizens of Leonard City.
“What truly stood out to me was how close I got with the boys in my city. We all learned so much and we did it together as a team!” he said of his experience,” he said. “We really worked to make it fun while still learning a lot about government. The friendships I made through BBS are friendships that I will have for a lifetime.”
Bettinger was a member of Schnug City in Wagonseller County. He ran for city Ttreasurer, where it was his job to balance the budget for Schnug City and keep their finances in order.
“I think this experience really helped me learn about myself,” said Bettinger. “I learned more about my strengths and how to take advantage of them as much as I can. I hold the position of treasurer in a couple of things at SHS, so I thought it would be a good idea to use what I know to run and then learn even more about it in the position.”
Bettinger also formed a strong bond with the boys in his city. “I was shocked by how quickly we all got to know each other. It really helped make it a memorable experience.”