Greenville Student Selected for Boys Nation

Zac Pelicano

GREENVILLE, SC SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities student Charlie Ratterree, of Greenville, was not only selected to participate in Palmetto Boys State this summer at Anderson University, he was also elected to the event’s mock-South Carolina Senate and appointed as the body’s President Pro Tem. In addition, Ratterree was selected to anchor the Boys State news broadcast service, putting his performing arts talents to use, during the week-long event. Out of over 1,000 attendees, he was one of two participants chosen to represent South Carolina at the Boys Nation program this July in Washington D.C.

Discussing the audition process for the WPBS news anchor position and the election to Palmetto Boys State senate, Ratterree stated, “Both of those experiences could not have been possible without the drama training I was given through the Governor’s School. I can tell you, without a doubt, that my speaking ability and my ability to communicate in general all came from learning this craft.” Ratterree had robust gratitude to offer both American Legion Post 3 for selecting him for Boys State and to Terri Mattress, the Governor’s School’s director of school counseling, for her encouragement and support during the application process.

A dedicated student and environmentalist, Ratterree is no stranger to civic-minded extracurricular activities. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the Governor’s School’s Environmental Club, where he is currently working on an initiative to eliminate invasive plant species threatening the flora on campus. 

In August, Ratterree will return to the Governor’s School to serve as student body co-president for the 2024-2025 academic year. When asked if governing and law had always been interesting to him, Ratterree said “Recently, I have become more interested in these two fields because they seem like areas in which I could really make a difference in the world, and isn’t that the point?”

While the Governor's School sends representatives to both Palmetto Boys State and Palmetto Girls State each year, Ratterree is the first student to be selected for Boys Nation. 

Founded in 1935, Boys State is a program sponsored by the American Legion where rising high school seniors from 49 states participate in mock forms of city, county, and state government. Aimed at highlighting the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of franchised citizens, Boys State participants engage in legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses, and recreational programs. Attendees are chosen through a process of nominations by high school teachers and counselors, followed by interviews and final selections by the local American Legion post. At the conclusion of Boys State, two delegates are chosen from each state’s program to advance to Boys Nation in Washington D.C., where they act as senators representing their home state and participate in a model legislative process by putting forward bills, conducting hearings, and forming committees. Since its inception, numerous Boys State and Boys Nation graduates have gone on to public office, including presidents, congress, and state legislators.