Thursday July 23, 2015
Thomas DeMag, a soon to be senior at South Burlington High School (SBHS), was selected to be a senator at Boys Nation in Washington, D.C. Taking place July 17 through 24, Boys Nation is an annual American Legion program that includes civic training, leadership development, and a focus on Americanism.
DeMag also attended Vermont Boys State, along with more than 110 student delegates from around the state. Held at Lyndon State College, he served as chair of the Education Board and Lieutenant Governor at Vermont Boys State. The student delegates traveled to the Vermont State House in Montpelier and had the opportunity to use committee rooms, as well as the house and senate chambers. DeMag enjoyed meeting other students from around the state, noting, “My best experience at Boys State was definitely meeting kids that I never would have met otherwise.”
DeMag credits his mother, a lobbyist in the State House, for his interest in politics, saying, “When I was younger, my mother suggested I apply to be a page.” In eighth grade, DeMag was one of 30 young Vermonters elected to work as a Legislative page in the Vermont State House. For six weeks, he delivered messages for members of the Senate, the House of Representatives, and various Legislative offices. DeMag remarks he appreciates the representatives and senators, especially after getting to know them on a personal level. In particular, DeMag notes Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott as having “a nice impact on my political life,” adding, “He is just the most humble guy.” DeMag continues, “He doesn’t get caught up in all the trouble that comes with politics, he just does whatever he can to get what the people want done.”
Looking forward to his senior year at SBHS, DeMag notes, “We really have an amazing staff at SBHS and I am honestly blessed to have them around to help me.” DeMag serves as one of the founders of the Athletic Leadership Council, quarterback and captain of the football team, plays lacrosse, and is involved in community service. “I also seriously look forward to having successful seasons of both lacrosse and football,” says DeMag, adding, “Anything less would be a letdown in my eyes. It is my final year at an amazing school, with amazing people. I don’t plan to let it go to waste.”
Currently, DeMag is undecided about which college he wants to attend, but knows he will be participating in ROTC, with the hope and expectation to one day become a fighter pilot.
DeMag will be joined by Morgan Wrigley of Northfield High School in representing Vermont at Boys Nation, as part of 98 senators (two from each state with the exception of Hawaii). There they will learn from a hands-on approach how the U.S. Senate and the federal government function. As a Boys Nation senator, each student delegate will also write, introduce and debate a bill of his choosing before an appropriate Senate committee, and if successful, the legislation will be voted on by the whole Boys Nation Senate. Bills passing the Senate are later signed or vetoed by the Boys Nation president.
The young men will also have an opportunity to tour the National Mall, including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Wall, and the Korean War Memorial. They will also present a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, see the Iowa Jima Memorial, and visit Capitol Hill for meetings with their state’s U.S. Senators. DeMag says, “I have always loved Washington DC, so I am really looking forward to touring the city again, and looking at the monuments. We also get to meet the President, so that should be awesome as well. And once again, meeting a whole new wave of incredible, unique kids from all around the nation.”