LAWTON, Okla._A local high school senior is traveling to Washington D.C. this week where he will represent the state of Oklahoma at Boys Nation, a leadership camp for high school juniors.
Mountain View-Gotebo High School student Dakota Poolaw attended Boys State in May where he and one other student were selected by the American Legion to attend Boys Nation.
Poolaw beat out 13 other young leaders. On Friday, after arriving in Washington D.C., he will the next spend eight days with 98 other students from across the nation getting an inside look at the U.S. government. He'll also have a chance to debate mock bills, including one he's already written.
"Even now, I am kind of elated. Like, still shocked. I have never been on an airplane before. It will be my first flight," Poolaw said.
Poolaw says he was surprised when he found out he was chosen to go to Washington.
"It really did shock me. They announced the two alternates then I was the third person to be announced. And so, whenever I heard my name, I was like wait? Oh that's my name," Poolaw said excitedly.
He says this isn't his first brush with politics. Last year, he worked at the Oklahoma Capitol where he assisted a local representative. While in Washington, Poolaw will follow the political process from beginning to end.
The boys will start with electing a president from among their peers, then move onto passing bills through their own mock U.S. Senate. Poolaw has even authored a mock bill that, if passed by his peers, would change the materials used to mint coins.
"[It would] be really exciting to kind of get my bill out there, which has to do with changing the metal composition for coins to make it cheaper, so that the face value of a coin actually is still higher than the production cost, which it isn't currently," Poolaw explained.
Poolaw says he is most looking forward to interacting with a wide variety of people at Washington D.C., including President Obama himself.
"Whenever it comes to patriotism, they are all grade 'A' Americans. So, it is really exciting. Meeting the president, that's pretty cool. I can't say I know I too many people who have met him," Poolaw said.
Poolaw says, after graduating high school next year, he wants to study ministry. He also plans to attend the University of Oklahoma. He says he's not sure what he'll major in, but is considering political science or journalism.