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Boys State teaches leadership, communication

Two students from Russellville High School recently attended Alabama Boys State in Tuscaloosa: Maxim Moussad and Samuel Franklin.

Moussad and Franklin each said they didn’t quite know what to expect from the week-long camp, but they both came out of the experience having learned about leadership, communication and teamwork.

“It was a good experience that I can take with me into the future and help me with meeting new people,” Moussad said.

Both boys admitted to not being overly social or willing to step out of their comfort zones, but they said after a couple of days at the camp, they were able to branch out and get involved in the activities.

“By Wednesday there was a shift, and the campers became more involved and were essentially running the camp,” Franklin said.

Boys in attendance were divided into “cities” and “counties” and tasked with forming a mock government, complete with debates and elections. Moussad was elected as a state senator but lost his run for secretary of state.

“It gave us an idea of how it really works,” Moussad said.

Moussad said at one point the Senate and House came to a standstill when both parties refused to pass the other’s bills. Eventually, progress was made, and they were able to continue.

Franklin didn’t run for an elected position, but he chose a healthcare-focused interest group that had the chance to tour the athletic facilities, including Bryant Denny Stadium, at the University of Alabama.

The purpose of Boys State is to teach young men about leadership and democracy. Through the debating and election processes, Franklin said one of his biggest takeaways was the importance of understanding how to compromise and listen to the other party. Moussad said he learned how to be a better leader and how to find things in himself that could set him apart from the crowd.

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