One day in the not-so-different future people may begin referring to MSMS Senior and Clarksdale native Cortez Thomas as “Mr. President.” That’s if he gets his way, and after his recent experience as only one of two Mississippians elected to attend Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. his ambition might be more than a pipe dream.
This summer, Thomas spent a week at the prestigious youth congressional program after his peers at the annual Boys State camp, hosted by Mississippi State University, elected him a state senator.
Thomas spent a week living on the campus of Marymount
University in Arlington, Virginia with 97 other bright young political minds
from all over the nation (Hawaii was unable to participate this year). At the
national camp, Thomas was elected Secretary of the Senate. His job was to take
notes during the senate meetings and run the senate in the event the Vice
President or President pro temp were unable to do so. In fact, there were
several times Thomas was called upon to be the leader and he even got to break
a few ties in voting.
Perhaps most remarkably, the senate Thomas was a part of actually managed to get things accomplished.
“We didn’t care about party we voted on the candidate we thought was best,” said Thomas. “We looked at the situation and merits of each bill, not the party of the senator who wrote it. In fact, during my week there we passed 20 different bills, which I think is more than the real congress has passed during their whole time in current office.”
Thomas also got to meet the senators and representatives from Mississippi and watch discussions on the floors of both the U.S. House and the Senate.
“It was really, really interesting,” he said.
But perhaps the biggest thrill for Thomas was when he got the chance to meet President Barack Obama in person.
“He looks so much younger in person,” said Thomas. “He told us he believed that we were all the future leaders of this country and he wanted us to continue doing exactly what we were doing. I don’t plan to let him down.”
Thomas makes no bones about his political ambitions. He says he wants to attend Vanderbilt University and then Harvard Law School. He also wants to be a member o the House of Representatives, the Senate and become President of the United States in that order.
“Bill Clinton also went to Boys Nation when he was younger,” said Thomas.
According to Thomas, coming to MSMS made a huge impact in his seizing this opportunity.
“I simply wouldn’t have known anything about it without MSMS,” he said.
The experience has also been financially rewarding – Thomas has already been offered more than $21,000 in scholarships due to his participation and success at Boys Nation.
“It was the greatest week of my life,” he said.
Before coming to MSMS, Thomas attended Clarksdale High School.