The academic program at Boys’ State will have three components – general education, electives and mini-courses. On a number of occasions throughout the week, there will be lectures intended for all. These will deal with topics of general interest, including state and local government, the electoral process and the national political scene. In addition, there will be three elective courses: Economics, Government and Law, which will meet five times throughout the week. These will be traditional lecture courses, not unlike those that are conducted at college.
The Government Course deals with a number of questions of current interest as well as political historical value. The instructor, James M. Fletcher Jr. MPH, attended Boys’ State in 2006, and has been a counselor with the program ever since. Mr.Fletcher, a coach and educator, is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross where he majored in English, minored in Classics and Political Science, and was active in the school community. Mr.Fletcher competed for the NCAA Division I Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Track teams for the Crusaders.
After receiving his Bachelors Degree, Mr.Fletcher went on to the Tufts University School of Medicine where he obtained his Masters Degree in Public Health. His Masters Thesis was focused on the issue of eating disorders in Collegiate Track and Field athletes. Since receiving his MPH, Mr.Fletcher has worked for a clinical research management company and has run for Alderman in the City of Woburn. For the past several years, he has been the Director of Academics and Programming for the Massachusetts Boys and Girls State programs. Mr.Fletcher is a Team Sales manager and works in events and scholastic development at Marathon Sports.
The Economics Course will have different lecturers and topics. Michael Millette is an Investment Banker with Goldman Sachs in New York where he manages Structured Finance Business in the Finance Group. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 in Fixed Income and moved to his current position in 1997. He is a member of the Structured Products Capital Committee. Michael was named managing director in 2002 and partner in 2006. Prior to joining the firm, he worked as an analyst at Citibank and a portfolio strategist at John Hancock. Michael earned his BA in History from Cornell University in 1987 and a MS in Finance from Boston College in 1994. He became a CFA charterholder in 1994. Alexander Spencer is a 2015 graduate of Harvard College and has had many successful internships in a variety of fields, including economics. James Myatt is a doctoral student at Northwestern University.
The Law Course deals with general topics in legal ethics and the fields of criminal, constitutional, tort and contract law. The Law Course is taught by The Hon. Dennis Curran. Paul Momnie, Esq. may also be a guest lecturer. Attorney Momnie is a 2010 graduate of Boston College and a 2013 graduate of Boston College Law School. After graduating from law school, he clerked for the Hon. Alexander H. Sands, III of the Massachusetts Land Court. He currently practices at the law firm DLA Piper in Boston, Mass., where he specializes in real estate law.
Finally, there will be a number of Mini-Courses offered beginning on Monday afternoon. Note that during the same time period when Mini-Courses are held, the legislature will meet. Therefore, no one who is elected to either the House or the Senate can take a Mini-Course. These topics will vary and will provide a much greater opportunity for discussion than is the case with general education or electives. A sample course list and descriptions are below.
Freakonomics: Finding the Rationality in Some of Life’s Most Irrational Decisions
What do Galileo Galilei and Randy Moss have in common? When should you park in a fire lane? Why did the addition of seatbelts in cars result in more auto related deaths? How are crack cocaine and the Whopper similar? Why might compulsive gamblers make the best savers? The answers to these questions and more can be discovered through economics. Come uncover the economics behind sex, drugs, rock and roll, crime, addiction, altruism, greed and dating. Along the way, you’ll learn real economic principles such as: supply and demand, diminishing marginal utility, indifference, scale and substitution effects, skewness, compensating differentials, game theory and Nash equilibria. As a bonus, I’ll teach you all how to win $1 million dollars on the TV show “Survivor”.
It was Thomas Jefferson who stated “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” This course will focus on exercising the constitutional right to freedom of the press by publishing a daily newspaper, the Citizen. The paper will include news, sports, and editorial sections. There will also be opportunities to work with photo, layout, and design.
Let’s Talk: Public Speaking and Debate
The objective of this course is to use video and textbooks to show some of the finer points of making speeches with the point of helping them in their campaign. This is not a class to help write speeches to specifically. This mini-course is designed to show common mistakes as well many famous speeches in real life, in movies and in theater. This class is aimed towards those who want to run for office, but would like some pointers before they take the stage.
Have you ever considered that era of the Cold War was actually marked by the longest absence of war between major powers? Have you ever questioned the role and legitimacy of international institutions? The study of International Relations can answer questions about why and how nations interact in the global community. This course will examine the primary schools of thought of international relations as well as assess historical and contemporary issues that can be examined from and international perspective.
Despite disagreement in the United States, climate change is recognized by governments around the world and by international organizations as a pressing issue requiring immediate attention. Through a simulation in which students will represent countries at a climate treaty negotiation, this course will familiarize participants with the problem at hand, how the global community has responded, and how international politics has and may come into play.
Law and Legal Action
The law mini-course will focus on an overview of the judicial system and the process of a legal action. It will consist of an overview of the federal and state courts and the various jurisdictions of each. There will then be a review and discussion of all of the various courts of the Commonwealth and the issues each deals with. The course will then turn to the process of a civil complaint in which the various steps, from the initial complaint through trial, are discussed. The course will finish with an overview of how a court operates with explanation of duties of the key court personnel.