The Legion Auxiliary Rhododendron Girls State began the week with over 300 girls from high schools all over the state making the journey to Davis and Elkins College. The week-long event will give the students a look into Americanism, citizenship, and leadership.
“Not only do they make lifelong friendship but they make lifelong connections often times they’ll room with their roommate from girl state in college,” said Rosemary Thomas, assistant director of Girls State. “Often times they chose a different major things of that nature because of this week and it exposed them to something they would have otherwise not known about.”
Students will have seminars and lectures throughout the week, exposing them to about the workings of politics and also teaching them leadership skills.
Senator Shelly Moore Capito spoke at the event. “I think a lot of it is confidence building. And that what girls state does it teaches you about running an election and advocating for a cause and building your confidence,” said the senator.
Girls that have participated in the week find they have more opportunities to grow even. after leaving.
Sydney West participated in the Girl’s State a previous year and was elected governor. “I came down without the intention of running for governor at all And Mrs. Sue Brown is one of the senior counselors here really encouraged me to get involved because that’s the best way to get the most out of it. And I think here it’s really centered around women lifting up woman which judges just spoke about with women lifting each other up and helping each other out,” said Sydney.
Students and organizers find the experience more than just educational, with girls walking away with life-lasting experiences.
“I think that you have a new appreciation for women afterward, and I just really had a new perspective on friendships and what woman can do when working together,” said Sydney.
“I think what they leave here with more than anything is a greater appreciation for our veterans because that’s what this is about freedom is not free the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, these families have sacrificed so much for so many years and generations. And they have a better appreciation for the veterans of this nation,” said Rosemary.