Oliver Goodman-Waters ’14 represented California at a national conference from July 19 to July 26 in Washington D.C. and met President Barack Obama. Goodman-Waters was selected for the honor when he and three other seniors participated in a statewide Boys State conference in Sacramento from June 21 to June 29.
The 1000 delegates from California who attended the Sacramento conference were split into parties randomly. Some delegates were then elected to different offices. Goodman-Waters was party secretary and in charge of the media for his party, Matt Klein ’14 was a state assembly member, Vincent Huang ’14 was a county treasurer and Grant Nussbaum ’14 was a citizen.
As the event was meant to replicate state legislature, Nussbaum, Goodman-Waters, Huang, and Klein debated issues such as health care, the Middle East, gun control and education.
“I learned a lot from meeting boys from greatly different backgrounds and interacting with some truly charismatic leaders,” Huang said. “Overall, I enjoyed Boys State a lot more than I would have expected at a program where you’re isolated from females for an entire week.”
At the end of the Sacramento event, five delegates, including Goodman-Waters, were nominated to go to the capital for the national conference. After the five delegates were interviewed, Goodman-Waters was one of two selected to go to Washington D.C.
“I was sitting in the back, so when they called my name, I had to walk through the crowd, and it felt really cool,” Goodman-Waters said.
The conference in Washington D.C. was a simulation of the Senate, with 98 delegates total, two from each state except Hawaii. All delegates had written and submitted their bills electronically.
“My favorite part was getting to interact with people from different states,” Goodman-Waters said.
The members met with President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. He spoke for about 10 minutes, explaining his appreciation for the program, and took a photo with all the members.
“Everyone was very polite, very intelligent, and gave very reasonable arguments to issues that I didn’t necessarily support,” Goodman-Waters said. “It made me more open-minded.”