Hazelwood School District seniors Kelechukwu Adiele, Daniel Jacob and Tim Schutzenhofer participated in the 73rd Session of Missouri Boys State (MBS) at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri this summer. American Legion Post 444 – Florissant sponsored the students.
Adiele attends Hazelwood East High School and Jacob and Shutzenhofer attend Hazelwood West High School. Boys State is meant to educate and train Missouri’s young leaders in functional citizenship, leadership and government. Almost 1,000 student leaders build an entire state government in a single week. The program is a pure democracy in that all of its “citizens” may vote and are eligible to hold office.
Using our democratic system as a basis, boys are taught the need for competition, the value of public office, the strength of the individual voice and vote and they use core values that hold true in their everyday lives. At MBS, citizens are split into 16 separate “cities” in eight different “counties.” Each one chooses a mayor, city treasurer, a municipal judge, three ward committeemen, six city councilmen, three senators and six representatives. Instead of Democrats and Republicans, MBS citizens are Federalists or Nationalists. The boys decide what ideals each party will stand for during MBS. This year marked the first time since Boys State began that an independent party candidate ran for office.
Schutzenhofer lived in Carver City, served as a Nationalist, attended law enforcement school and worked as a police officer in the city’s second ward and as a delegate to his county’s committee.
“There were about 1,000 boys there from across the state. I liked the different experiences that each person brought to Boys State,” he said. “We started with the very basics of government. We learned about the entire campaign process, what it takes to start running a campaign and the big part is how much a campaign costs. We learned a lot about democracy. One of the Boys State slogans is ‘Democracy in Action – it’s all about you,’ and it was. It was up to us to decide things.”
Other students are elected to state offices - governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, attorney general, chief justice of the state supreme court and six supreme court justices.
Jacob lived in Carnahan City, served as a Federalist and as one of the House of Representatives, worked as city party secretary and a ward committeeman. He attended legislative school during Boys State.
“For me, being in the House was the best part,” said Jacob. “The way we did the different trials, it was legitimate. There were phrases you had to say, like ‘point of order’; we did it like the state of Missouri does it. I was glad everyone took it so seriously.”
“I enjoyed meeting all of the great people,” said Jacob. “There were so many diverse backgrounds, even though we are all from Missouri. There were guys from Joplin there who made their own photos and a video. It was a lot of fun.”
Adiele lived in Boone City, served as a Nationalist, attended journalism school and worked as a reporter for the MBS Record.
“When I first attended, I had no idea what was going to happen,” he said. “It was definitely one of the best things to happen over the summer and it’s definitely worth attending. I found myself going to multiple jobs and multiple parts of the entire state,” he said of his time as a reporter. “I definitely love writing; it’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.”
During MBS, students follow a core curriculum as well as study with professionals in the following fields – campaigning and political operations, law enforcement, law, legislative, journalism and democracy academy.
“It was a chance to do it there and see what it’s like,” said Schutzenhofer about his stint as a Boys State police officer. “It’s a very interesting career and it would definitely be something I would be interested in doing.”
However, he said it is more likely he will major in physical/occupational therapy in college. He is considering attending Saint Louis University, Xavier, Creighton or the University of Dayton. Jacob said he plans to enroll in mechanical engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST) in Rolla or at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Adiele plans to attend the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona to study video game design and computer programming. He said competent video games demand excellent writing skills.
Students are picked for MBS based on their merits and abilities. They should demonstrate leadership, character, scholarship and citizenship qualities. Those who do well in civics, American History, government and other political classes are encouraged to apply, however it is not a requirement.
Schutzenhofer said listening to White House Fellow, Navy Seal Commander and Boys State alumnus Eric Greitens, a guest speaker, was a MBS highlight for him.
“He spoke to us about an organization he created that helps disabled veterans find jobs and get back into the community,” he said. “He showed us a lot of photos and told us a lot of stories and he reminded us how much soldiers and sailors give up protecting us.”
Boys State alumni include actor Scott Bakula; cartoonist Mike Peters, creator of “Mother Goose and Grimm”; NBA superstar Michael Jordan; rock ‘n roll singer Jon Bon Jovi; astronaut Neil Armstrong; television newsman Tom Brokaw; and film critic Roger Ebert.
Students who will be juniors during 2012-2013 and who are interested in attending Boys State should inform their high school counselors or visit the Missouri Boys State website at www.moboysstate.org. The 74th Session of Missouri Boys State will take place June 15 - 22, 2013. For more information, email Bettie Rusher at firstname.lastname@example.org