Local delegates share Boys and Girls State experiences

PINEY FORK – From campaigning to serving in elected posts, three Buckeye Local High School delegates to Buckeye Boys and Girls State got a better understanding of the workings of local, city and county government and spoke recently about it at the combined meeting of the Gwyn Allen Post 735 Piney Fork American Legion and Auxiliary, their sponsors.

Erica Cline and Leigha Pasco shared their experiences of the event at Mount Union College which was attended by 900 students from across the state and sponsored by American Legion auxiliaries.

Jacob Long, one of 1,400 young men at Boys State, discussed the government process he learned and his participation in the Boys State band at Bowling Green State University. Calvin Stabile also attended.

Cline failed to pass a test to earn a position on the Girls State patrol, but became a member of city council. Only 20 applicants from the entire body became members of the patrol, she noted. She was part of Underwood County.

Pasco was named sergeant at arms for Allen County and called the process overwhelming. “We (student body) ran everything from the caucuses to the election to serving in office, and the half who lost were assigned jobs,” she said.

Half the delegates belonged to the Nationalist party, the other half to the Federalist party.

“Colored pencils, markers and paper were supplied for making campaign posters, and nothing could be added to attract additional attention,” Pasco said.

Pretend checkbooks were distributed to each delegate, and if they broke traffic rules, missed stop signs or did not wear seat belts, the offender had to pay from the checkbook.

Gov. John R. Kasich visited the 900 junior students who go through sessions instilling knowledge of the election and government process. Other special visitors included the chief justice of the supreme court, the president of Bowling Green and the head of the national American Legion.

Long was in the city of Waite, one of the richest cities there, with oil fields and a diamond mine. He served as mayor’s clerk and deputy registrar.

“I tried to pass the bar twice but failed. I did so well in my position that the mayor moved me up and gave me a raise. Eventually I took over for the mayor,” he said.

Long, who plays trumpet, took part in the evening assemblies. “We played patriotic songs, and the audience would get out their cell phones and do a light display. The colors were brought in and retired each evening,” he said.

A vivid remembrance of the week was a tornado that hit during the night. “We had to awaken people on our floor and sit in the staircase,” Long said. Another was hearing Ralph Waite, a veteran of the World War II artillery division, who was marking his final year of having a presence at?Boys State events, a tradition since 1961. Ralph Waite Day will be observed at future Boys State sessions.

Long recalled something from Waite’s speech that made a lasting impression. “He told about a man who was busy throwing star fish back into the sea from the beach and was asked why, as it made no difference to anyone. ‘It made a difference to those starfish,’ the man replied.”

Waite assured the attendees that they, too, can do things to make a difference for others.

Long and Cline plan to be counselors at the sessions next year.

Parents Tammy Long, Crystal Pasco and Bob Cline attended the meeting.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)