Vegan Pizza and Skipped Meetings: The Boys State Story Part 1

By: William Huffaker

999 high school boys.  8 whole vegan pizzas.  1 incredibly, long week.  Every summer, 49 U.S. states participate in a program known as Boys State.  Young men from all around the state are selected to gather over a week and build an entire state government.  It starts at the city level with mayors and city jobs and ends with a governor and entire state legislature.  For the boys who try, it’s incredibly stressful, for those who don’t, even more so.

Every boy selected for the program enters with the hopes of running for governor.  I, like many others, showed up that first day prepared to run the best campaign the world had ever seen.  After about ten minutes in I’d given up that dream.  The next eight days were to be filled with skipped meetings and forlorn faces for the other attendee from Tulare Western, Matthew Adams, and me.  By the end of the first night, both of us knew we were in over our heads.  Neither knew exactly why we were there or what we were going to do now that we were there.

The third day, we decided to skip out on some of the big state meetings at the grassy center of the dorm area at Sac State.  All 1,000ish boys were to attend while we decided to skip out and stay in the library.  As we were coming back, I saw this very frightened, nervous guy speeding through the path.  The moment he saw us he ran up and began to spurt out frantically that nobody was still on campus.  He had fallen asleep while studying and actually doing stuff at the library and had missed the meeting we had decided to skip.  “Nobody’s here, man.  They’re all gone.”  he exclaimed.  Instantly my head went to the worst possible ideas.  The campus had been evacuated due to a school shooter or a radiation leak or something.  The boy then began to run  down the path in search of the rest of the group.  I never did see him again.  It turns out the meeting had been moved to the student union and only the people who had been there would know.

That night, the two of us skipped the nightly meeting at the union that would go until 11:00 p.m.  We stayed in his dorm watching Netflix, though I was not supposed to, because I was from a different building boys were not supposed only supposed to be in their own.  All of a sudden a knock is heard at his door.  Then another.  Then another.  It won’t stop.  A campus security guard had seen that a light was left on in his room and had come to turn it off.  At the time, we believed that it would be counselors coming to catch us.  We knew we weren’t the only ones skipping the meeting because we heard boys talking through the wall in the dorm next to us, but we still believed we were the ones who would get caught.  My mind was going crazy as I freaked out, still planning what our move should be.  They would send us home.  We would not be able to graduate the program.  Matt came up with the “brilliant” idea that I should hide under his bed.  That was not going to work, so quickly we came up with the idea together that he had a family member who was dying and I was there as his childhood best friend to comfort him.  I’m sure whoever was outside the door had heard us whispering and arguing about it and freaking out, because eventually they just left.  The moment kids started returning from the meeting in bulk, I busted out of there and ran to my building.  Another day, another crazy, knick-of-time adventure.

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