Drury junior Cameron Lapine, top middle in the blue tie, with Boys and Girls State colleagues in Boston. Lapine is the first Drury student to be elected governor of the state program.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Drury High School was student elected as the first-ever governor from Western Massachusetts at Massachusetts Boys State this year.
Drury junior Cameron Lapine campaigned against students from throughout the state and was elected to the highest position in the program.
"It was a really big honor," Lapine said. "I went in expecting to maybe run for mayor or attorney general and to come out as governor is unimaginable and really great."
Boys State is a countrywide leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion. High school juniors stay a week at a college campus in June and partake in political lectures, college courses, games and activities. Students also can campaign and can be elected in various positions in their state chapter of Boys State
Lapine said his campaign strategy was to get to know as many people as he could.
"One of the big things that I focused on was shaking as many hands as possible, and I would go around the campus cafeteria and shake as many hands as I could and talk to as many as I could," he said. "That was my main thing; I wanted to meet everyone."
Lapine said he has been interested in politics since 2009 when he helped hand out John Barrett III election signs with his grandfather during the North Adams mayoral election between the former mayor and current Mayor Richard Alcombright.
Lapine said he did not know Boys State existed, but when he learned about it he knew it would be something he would like to be nominated for.
"It sounded like something I would enjoy, and I was right," he said. "It was a great time."
Lapine said he would like to have a future in politics and Boys State only motivated him even more. He said he would like to be involved in statewide or local government.
"It is really important for my political career and it helped me make some connections with politicians from out east that will help if I run for office as an adult," Lapine said.
Lapine will be a senior this upcoming school year and he said the program has helped him make connections with various colleges and college administrators. He said he is interested in going to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts or the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
Lapine said his time at Boys State "flew by" and it was "nonstop." He said future Boys State applicants need to be ready to keep up with the program.
"Try to follow the schedule to the T because if you are late by a few minutes you are going to miss valuable information and that's a big deal," he said.
Lapine said his experience at Boys State has taught him the importance of voting and he urges young people to get more involved in government.
"I want to make sure that young people vote because there are so many young people out there who don't vote, and it's a waste of having the ability to vote," he said.