With the start of the new school year, it’s only natural for high school students to find themselves and wonder how their summer was.
Corona del Mar High senior Luca Fasulo certainly has some stories to tell.
Lucas attended State of the American Legion Boys in Sacramento in late June, learning about township government at the state level.
He was recommended by his AP US history teacher at CoM, Laura Mayberry. Her school counselor who submitted the nomination, Charles Oyas, was on the same page.
“He’s responsible, mature, smart, dedicated, has a good heart,” Oyas said of Luca. “I know it sounds cliché, but he really fills it all out. He’s a big, versatile young man. I would give him my car keys and I wouldn’t worry if he did something stupid.
At the end of Boys State, Luca found he had earned an even greater honor. He was selected as one of two incoming seniors from California selected to attend Boys Nation, which offers a similar program at the federal senate level.
Luca spent a week in the Washington, DC area July 22-29. He had the opportunity to visit the national capital and see national monuments. But more than that, he participated in the Senate of the American Legion Boys Nation.
Luca was one of many Boys State attendees honored Tuesday night at American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach, which sponsors the program. He said he was invited back in a few weeks to talk more about his experience.
Boys State brought together more than 800 participants, including three from CdM. The program started right away, with a mock bar exam on the first day.
“Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as the first bar exam, but you have to study for it,” Luca said. “It was pretty competitive. There were kids who didn’t make it. From there, you try anything from the district attorney to the Supreme Court.
Luca said he had two goals in this experience: get into the Senate and be interim president, or go to Boys Nation. But he knew both would be difficult.
He ran as both editor and Whig party secretary at Boys State. He was not elected either, but continued to work.
“Out of 24 towns, 14 representatives were Federalists and 10 were Whigs,” he said. “As a Whig, I was in the minority. I knew I had to do something to get the pro tempore spot, but it wasn’t very likely. I made the effort of going from county to county, from town to town, looking for these senators and trying to convince them of my objective.
His platform to find common ground eventually resonated and he was eventually elected interim by 13 to 11 votes.
“I just remember all the Whigs jumping and clapping, so delighted,” Luca said, adding that his adviser at Boys State, Dale Major, told him it was the first time the pro tempo had come from the minority party. in 24 years.
The last time this happened, the student was selected for Boys Nation. History repeated itself for Luca, who is also captain of the CoM boys’ football team – he plays as a central defender – and activity commissioner for the ASB, among other activities.
“I wasn’t the smartest kid there, and I wasn’t the most knowledgeable about government process, politics, or our country’s current climate,” he said. “But I was able to implement some of the things I learned in leadership through youth and government, ASB and all leadership roles through soccer. That ended up being the most important lesson, really. I think that’s what brought me to Boys Nation.
Mayberry said she thought Luca would be perfect for the program. Last year, he was visiting her before or after school to talk politics, even connecting things the class was learning with contemporary things happening.
“He’s confident and he’s outspoken, and that’s really going to resonate when you get [to Boys Nation],” she said. “He’s the perfect representative of our school and our community… I’m a pretty big fan. I try to keep him grounded, but it’s hard because he’s pretty perfect. conducts himself with integrity and leads by example.
Luca said he finds the Boys Nation program empowering. Prior to last year, most of his knowledge of government and politics came from his involvement with Youth & Government for three years.
He ended up introducing a bill to temporarily ban a pesticide that was killing bees in California.
“Having these conversations with people from different backgrounds, cultures and political views, those are really defining moments,” he said. “It works just like the US Senate. We have to go through the committees and then we go to the floor. We lobby for bills behind the scenes. It’s really complete.
Luca said visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, hosted by the American Legion, was a highlight of his trip. Boys Nation members were unable to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House because the President had COVID-19 at the time.
He also participated in a Capitol Hill Day that he won’t soon forget.
“Walking down the halls and seeing a California flag, a Texas flag, a New Jersey flag, it all really comes to life,” he said. “Just being in this environment of controlled chaos has inspired me, certainly helped me see where I want to go in the future with my career in politics.”
Luca added that Sons of the American Legion National Commander Michael Fox of California served as tour guide for the four representatives from Boys Nation and Girls Nation of California.
The trip clearly inspired Luca, who recently joined the Young Leaders Political Action Committee as a representative from Orange County.
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