Local teens share Boys State success

Wakanene Kamau (right)
of Perrysburg, in session at the House of Representatives at Buckeye Boys State. (Photos: J.D.
Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

Wakanene Kamau of Perrysburg thoroughly enjoys the political process, so he is right at home this week as
a delegate to American Legion Buckeye Boys State.
He is one of three Wood County delegates highlighted in a story earlier this week, along with Marshall
Kobylski of Bowling Green and Thomas Edwards of Pemberville, concerning what they had hoped to
accomplish at the program.
Kamau’s goals had been to become a delegate to his political party’s convention and perhaps run for party
secretary, then campaign for the BBS House of Representatives. The 16-year-old was able to help his
political party and ran a successful campaign for the House.
Assigned to the Federalist Party, Kamau was first elected as party chairman for his city. He decided not
to help the party formulate its platform but instead advised other Federalists who were running for
various offices.
"I really enjoyed helping each individual person work," said Kamau, adding he was glad to help
the delegates figure out what campaign strategy would work for them. As a result, many of the teens
which he helped won their elections.
Kamau himself was elected to the House and was then chosen as Speaker Pro Tempore, one of its top
positions. His main duty is to preside over the House in the absence of the delegate who is Speaker of
the House.

Thomas Edwards (left) of
Pemberville and Broden Kelly, London, Ohio, study some papers.

In addition, "I usually lead in the House Rules and Reference Committee," said the teen.
"I make sure I’m knowledgeable in parliamentary procedure."
"I thoroughly enjoy my experience," he added.
Thomas Edwards of Eastwood High School entered BBS with the goal to also run for the House, which he did.

"I wrote my own speech and put my heart and soul in my campaign," he said. "Overall I
believe I did a satisfactory campaign. It brought a lot of my creativity out. I saw how people
campaigning get their voice out and meet people. I saw more the abstract part of the campaign
process."
When another delegate won the House seat for which Edwards ran, he went to the BBS Job Fair and tried for
a position with the state treasurer’s office.
During his interview for a job Edwards explained why he was qualified and was later offered the position
of deputy treasurer.
"I make sure the state treasurer can operate successfully and help in leadership with other people
around me. I help to insert my opinion where we should go with the funds. We’ve done fairly well."

The teen is pleased doors opened for him to use his math and logic skills in the state treasurer’s
office.
"I think not getting the House of Representatives taught me leadership isn’t a taught position or
elected position. It’s what you do to bring out the best in your fellow citizens, and it’s centered
about trust, centered about relationship."
When Marshall Kobylski of Bowling Green High School registered last Saturday at BBS, he was undecided
about what he wanted to do.
"I was still pretty wide open," he said. "I was leaning toward mayor."
Kobylski threw his hat in the ring for the mayor’s job, but he did not carry his party’s primary. So he
read the job description for city councilman.

Marshall Kobylski (left)
of Bowling Green fills out paper work.

"I decided city council would be great. … It was what I wanted to do, make laws, be involved in
the city. Once I got in, I got voted as council president. It’s really a lot of fun. We’re getting a lot
done, passing ordinances and resolutions.
"I really didn’t know what it was going to be like," Kobylski said of Boys State. "The
first day was slow. After that it was a lot of fun, getting into elections and into our jobs."