MMA cadet and “governor” John Thomas Curley ’16 was recognized August 19 at noon mess, receiving a traveling plaque from Missouri Boys State representative Bettie Jennings Rusher.
Curley achieved the impossible via virtue and values at the American Legion’s Missouri Boys State 2015, stealing the highest title as a write-in candidate. The incoming senior is only the third write-in governor in Boys State’s 76-year history and was selected the 2015 governor from a pool of nearly one thousand students from 400 schools.
“There are two political parties while you’re at Boys State,” Rusher said. “There’s the Nationalist and there’s the Federalist. … He did not gain their support to be the governor. Someone else was nominated from the Federalist Party.”
”What an outstanding student! … He knew he could lead,” Rusher said. “He’s someone you can look up to as a role model.”
According to MBS newspaper reporter Noah Cassity of The Record, Curley’s unconventional campaign was driven by the “pursuit of transparency.” Curley’s Federalist platform pointed out the unfeasibility in his opponents’ campaign promises to extend lights-out and re-arrange lunch shifts.
“I would like to thank all the guys who supported me … all the people of Boys State. … It’s an honor to be the third write-in candidate [to become MBS governor],” Curley said in his address to his 992-member MBS constituency. “It speaks a lot about our citizens and that they know what they want in our government.”
Curley received four additional titles at Missouri Boys State, a youth leadership and citizenship program taking place June 13-20 on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO. Prior to his successful gubernatorial campaign, Curley was also appointed Governor’s Chief of Staff, County Committee Chair, City Party Chairman and Ward Committeeman, Ward II.
According to Rusher, the crowd “roared” with cheers and applause when Curley was announced the winner of the gubernatorial race.
“I was there,” Rusher said. “I still get cold chills when I think about it.”
Athletic Director MAJ Kevin Farley represented MMA by attending the swearing-in ceremony June 18 and said Curley’s actions exemplify the motto of the MMA Athletic Department: “Pursuing Victory with Honor.”
“I am so proud of John Curley. When he does something, he does it full force and with honor,” Farley said. “It is because of young men like cadet Curley that I am proud to be a member of the Missouri Military Academy community.”
Former Missouri governor Bob Holden crowned Curley the victor June 18, while Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush and Fox News Contributor Karl Rove delivered a keynote address June 15.
Across the nation, the American Legion Boys States have shaped some of the most prominent leaders in the United States. Former President Bill Clinton, basketball legend Michael Jordan and world-renowned astronaut Neil Armstrong are just a few of the prominent leaders who have come from the Boys State program.
Curley has accomplished much athletically and academically during his one short year at MMA. Curley served as the junior class cadet council representative for the 2014-15 school year, was named December 2014 Student of the Month and participated in the Color Guard and Fusiliers drill team. A bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award medalist, Curley will study in the UK at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School through MMA’s student-exchange program for the fall 2015 semester. The football, baseball and basketball athlete is a member of MMA’s M-Club athletic honor society and also excels academically as a member of the National Honor Society and MMA’s Delta Phi academic honor society. Curley took second place in Entrepreneurship and fourth in Securities and Investments at the FBLA district level, qualifying to compete at the state level.
In April, Curley competed as a finalist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s INSPIRE National High School Research Competition. His thesis explored the correlation between the student loan debt of individuals under 25 and their willingness to pursue entrepreneurial ventures. He was inspired by Wall Street Journal article entitled “Endangered Species: Young U.S. Entrepreneurs.”
“MIT is my dream school. Seeing the campus and experiencing life here is really amazing,” Curley said. “This competition has … allowed me to meet other aspiring young individuals as well as esteemed professors and staff here at MIT.”