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Boys State
by Karen Pecota

The long-aged, week-long summer experience for a selected group of high school boys from all over the United States to participate in a mock scenario to learn aspects of the world of politics and its effects appear in the documentary Boys State.

This documentary was one of the most sought after films to screen at the Sundance Film Festival 2020. In retrospect I believe one reason was because many of the thousands of festival attendees either attended such a summer event in years past or knew of the program, as an educator or had friends or siblings who completed such a course. My high school sent students every year to such an invitational program. It also sent high school girls to participate in a similar highly esteemed program. It was deemed an honor to attend.

I had always wondered what took place during the program because being heavily involved in student government in high school several of my friends on the Student Council were often chosen to attend. Oddly, after their experience the reporting to the Student Council the following year never seemed to be too detailed.

The documentary Boys State is an eye-opener to what really transpires during the intense week-long learning experience. Emotionally gripping is this story of a controlled mock political world for the very young.