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August 8, 2017 > Mt. Eden High senior goes to Boys State

Mt. Eden High senior goes to Boys State

Submitted By Dionicia Ramos

An incoming senior at HaywardÕs Mt. Eden High School was nominated to serve as a delegate in a selective, nationwide program. Boys State seeks to prepare young men to be the leaders of the future and it boasts notable alumni such as former President Bill Clinton and John A. Pérez, the former California Assembly speaker. Mathew Bretz was the only Hayward Unified School District student selected to the program at the statewide level.

The American Legion began the California chapter of Boys State in 1937 with the goal of replicating how local and state government systems should function. Mathew Bretz was a junior at Mt. Eden High School when he was nominated by his history teacher to participate as a delegate. He went on to earn the endorsement of the local American Legion post. When he arrived for the week-long program, which takes place at Sacramento State University, he and 1,000 other young men from across the state were placed into five separate dorms. Each building represented a county, and the members of those counties embarked on a process of electing city, county, and then state representatives.

Mr. Bretz was appointed to serve as a firefighter for his mock city and later, due to staffing issues, he was called to duty as a police officer. Inspired by the experience, Mathew Bretz stated, ÒIt is vital that every American participate in the electoral process and become familiar with their state and local governments.Ó In addition to acquiring public speaking and leadership skills, Bretz ended the program with a new appreciation for the art of consensus building. The experience culminated with the delegates visiting the state capitol, where they had the opportunity to meet state legislators and convene a joint session of the Assembly. According to Tim Aboudara, a Boys State senior staff member, ÒThe program is unique in that it is modeled closely after the California Constitution.Ó Aboudara indicated that every state in the U.S. (with the exception of Hawaii) sends two representatives to the nationwide program, which convenes in Washington D.C. Recently, President Trump welcomed the members of Boys Nation to a ceremony at the White House.

As for Bretz, he plans to apply to UC Davis, San Francisco State, and Stanford to pursue a career
in medicine. While he doesnÕt foresee a future in politics, heÕs grateful for the opportunity this
program has given him to become more civic-minded.

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