A trip to the White House

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Sam Osa-Agbontaen
Staff Photo Max Bowen

North Attleborough student preps to meet the president

In just two weeks, Sam Osa-Agbontaen will get the chance to meet some of the biggest names in United States politics, including the man who sits in the Oval Office. 

Osa-Agbontaen is a member of Boys State, an organization run through the American Legion that introduces high school students to programs of government instruction. These include city, county, and state governments operated by students elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses, and recreational programs. There is another version called Girls State, with the same goals and activities. 

Osa-Agbontaen, an incoming senior at North Attleborough High School, was elected senator of the Massachusetts chapter of Boys State, and will travel to Washington D.C. with 96 other officers from each state, with the exception of Hawaii. While there, they will participate in a mock Congress, tour the city, and meet with President Donald Trump. 

When asked what he’d like to talk to the President about, Osa-Agbontaen said he would want to know how he makes decisions, given that there will always be someone upset with the results.

“I’ve heard that you can never make the good decisions, all the options are bad for somebody,” he said.

As part of the mock Congress, Osa-Agbontaen will be presenting a bill. He hopes to write one to end the disenfranchisement of prisoners. He said doing that can lead to a dangerous precedent of marginalizing a certain group and diminishing their voting rights. 

“That was what I am hearing towards,” said Osa-Agbontaen, adding that he may opt for a different bill. “I’m keeping my head open.”

Osa-Agbontaen said that he’s learned much in his time with Boys State, including how to run a campaign. While vying for the senate seat, he had to give five speeches, sometimes only a day apart, which helped teach him to adapt and think quickly.

“It taught you how to read the room and see what the crowd is like,” he said.

Among the lessons imparted to him through his time with Boys State, Osa-Agbontaen said that he learned the power that young people have to make change. 

“They [Boys State] really emphasize that the youth have power,” he said. “If you can rally people to a cause, you can make a difference.”