Gov. DeSantis Speaks at the Florida American Legion Boys State Program in June 2022.
By Agrippina Fadel
Coral Springs Talk might have just spoken to the city’s future mayor; however, residents will have to wait a few years before seeing his name on the ballot.
Victor King, 17, a rising senior who recently transferred from J.P. Taravella High School to American Heritage School in Plantation, is making waves at the 78th session of Florida American Legion Boys State.
One of the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students, Florida Boys State, is a mock government program in which rising seniors organize and run their own local, county, and state governments for one week in Tallahassee.
Throughout the week, they attend college-level civics and Florida history classes and hear from a wide range of guest speakers.
King was elected mayor by his peers at the beginning of the week and then selected as a county commissioner and house representative. He said this accomplishment meant that he managed to grasp the concepts the program is tasked with teaching.
“I learned how to speak publicly, be persuasive and run an election campaign. Everything I have been taught has paid off,” he added.
Andrew Satterlee, Florida American Legion Boys State Director, said that mayors, many of whom, like Victor King, move on to higher offices at Boys State, set the tone for the week, help lead their cities in simulations, and have a strong presence in the mock state government sessions.
“In just a matter of hours, these young men demonstrated to their fellow citizens the qualities of leadership, drive, and service,” he added.
King, a Feathertree resident, said participating in Florida State Boys has solidified his desire to run for office one day. “The program made me realize that I like helping out in my community, and being a public official is a great opportunity for me to do that,” he explained.
King added that he wanted to “start small,” work for one of the city commissioners and make his way up, maybe all the way to a city mayor.
When asked if he has presidential ambitions, Victor thinks he would make more of a difference on the local level. “The lower you are when it comes to politics, the more involved you can be within the community, and that is really what I want,” he added, saying he hopes to give back to Coral Springs because the city has given so much to him.
King said the skills he learned at Florida State Boys are not just useful for his potential political career in the future but would help him become a better student and a confident public speaker.
“I want to be able to articulate what I want to say well, sound like I know what I am talking about, and express myself eloquently. The program gave me a great opportunity to learn how to do that and eliminated any fears of presenting in front of a crowd,” he explained.
Florida Boys State Session is held from June 19 to 25 at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The entire program is non-partisan and free from propaganda to enable the boys to understand some of the responsibilities they will encounter when they become adults. American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State.
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- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master’s in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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