Two local boys picked to attend Boys Nation


History was made at American Legion Buckeye Boys State when the selection of two Wood County delegates to
attend Boys Nation was announced during Sunday’s graduation.
Out of 1,135 delegates, Tyler Carson of rural Bowling Green and Jonathan Elder of Perrysburg were given
the program’s highest honor of being chosen for Boys Nation.
Sponsored by the national American Legion, the program is held in Washington, D.C., in July and includes
the top two delegates from each of the 49 Boys State programs across the nation. The teens act as
senators, elect a president and vice president and create a national government, as well as tour famous
Chosen as alternates were Nicholas Boniface of Youngstown and Ryan O’Toole of North Canton. Section heads
in every department at BBS nominate the hardest-working teens who are then interviewed by a Boys Nation
selection committee on Saturday.
According to BBS Director Jerry White, this is the first time, to his knowledge, that Wood County teens
are the two simultaneous delegates to Boys Nation.
Carson, who will be a senior at Otsego High School, is the son of Jackie and Brad Carson and was
sponsored by Tontogany Post 441. At BBS he passed the bar exam and initially won his party’s primary
election for state attorney general but lost the general election. Carson was then appointed as the
associate state superintendent of education in charge of legislative and financial matters.
Following graduation Carson said losing the election "was a great disappointment. But that event
really opened the door for me to work in the state department of education. It really showed me, win or
lose, everyone here at Boys State has a purpose and a job to do well."
He said he knew of Boys Nation but figured that out of all the delegates there, "the chances of me
going were extremely slim." When he was nominated by his advisor for an interview with the
selection committee, "I just decided I’d give it my very all and see what I could do."
Carson affirmed BBS was "about everything I thought it would be and more. Coming in I knew it was a
great program, but I didn’t have high expectations for myself." Having completed the program
successfully, Carson said he has more confidence in himself. "It’s been one of the greatest
experiences of my life."
Elder, who will be a senior at Perrysburg High School, is the son of Rhonda Elder and Steve Elder and
sponsored by Perrysburg Post 28. As a BBS attorney he won his party’s primary as one of six associate
justices of the Supreme Court. In the general election he went on to win a seat on the high court, one
of the program’s top 16 state positions.
After the graduation ceremony Elder admitted to having been nervous since his interview with the
selection committee on Saturday. With his name announced as going to Boys Nation, "I don’t know
what to think yet. I’m still in disbelief." Not knowing much about Boys Nation, "I’ll have to
wait and see what my position will be."
As to BBS, Elder described it as extraordinary. "I expected to have a crash course in politics. It
turned out much more than that," he said, citing the friendships he made, the patriotism he
experienced and more. "I’m glad I was chosen to come."
During the memorial service honoring all former BBS graduates who have died in service to their country,
Master Sgt. Brian Naseman (BBS ’89) was added to the roll, having been killed in Taji, Iraq on May 22.
An American flag flown over BBS in honor of Naseman was presented to his parents who were present. Among
the 38 delegates honored were Aaron Seesan (BBS ’98), killed in Iraq in 2005, and Matt Maupin (BBS
2000), whose remains were found in Iraq in 2008 after he was listed as a POW/MIA.
The graduation speaker was a 1983 delegate to BBS, USAF Lt. Col. Tor Dietrichs, who served as a fighter
pilot in the Air Force before becoming a fighter pilot trainer. He urged the teens to "set
outrageous goals, work very hard and adapt to change." He also said it was their responsibility as
a U.S. citizen to tune in to what is happening in the world, be a critical thinker and "pay it
back" in their local community.
Tyler Carson of rural Bowling Green and Jonathan Elder of Perrysburg

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