ELKINS, W.Va. – The American Legion Auxiliary Rhododendron Girls State is back for its 79th year from June 12-17.

This year’s girls state is at Davis & Elkins College campus, where nearly 200 rising high school seniors have gathered to spend five days learning more about Americanism and citizenship.

“Rhododendron Girls State is thrilled to be back on campus for a full in-person,” said Dr. Rosemary Thomas, the WV American Legion Auxiliary Rhododendron Girls State director and D&E executive vice president. “Learning first-hand about our form of government on the hallowed grounds that were once occupied by Senators Davis and Elkins makes the learning process even more real. The college community plays an integral role in the entire week, serving as hosts and providing speakers, instructors, moderators and more. The environment lends itself to living and learning as well as fellowship and fun.”

For the last two years, Girls State was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year is back for a full in-person session. The theme this year is “we’re on our way.”

Rhododendron Girls State Schedule:

Sunday, June 12

Opening Assembly will serve as the official start of the week.

When: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Davis & Elkins College President Chris A. Wood will provide a welcome. Remarks also will be delivered by ALA WV Girls State Director and D&E Executive Vice President Dr. Rosemary Thomas, Girls State Governor Sidney Megna, American Legion Auxiliary Department President Cathy Post and American Legion Department Commander William Haught. Family Court Judge for the 22nd Circuit Lori Haynes will swear in the Girls State citizens.

Monday, June 13

Guest speaker U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

When: 10 a.m.

Where: The McDonnell Center

What: U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito will address the Girls State citizens.

Guest speaker West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner.

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: The McDonnell Center

What: West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner will address the Girls State citizens.

Tuesday, June 14

Guest speaker West Virginia State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

When: 10 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: West Virginia State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will address the Girls State citizens.

Guest speaker Honorary Girls State Citizen Natalie Tennant.

When: 11 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: West Virginia Honorary Girls State Citizen Natalie Tennant will address the Girls State citizens.

Guest speaker West Virginia State Auditor JB McCuskey.

When: 2 p.m.

Where: TBD

What: West Virginia State Auditor JB McCuskey will address the Girls State citizens.

Wednesday, June 15

Guest speaker Dr. Cynthia Persilly, WVHEPC Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences.

When: 10 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Dr. Cynthia Persilly will address the Girls State citizens.

Party Parade.

When: 10:30 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, outdoor plaza

What: Girls State citizens, representing Federalists and Nationalists, will stage a parade prior to voting in the general election later that afternoon.

Guest speaker Delegate Amy Summers, West Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader.

When: 5:15 p.m.

Where: The McDonnell Center

What: Delegate Amy Summers will address Girls State citizens.

Thursday, June 16

Guest speaker West Virginia Author Diana Johnson.

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: The McDonnell Center

What: West Virginia Author Diana Johnson will address Girls State citizens.

Inauguration.

When: 4:30 p.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Citizens will process into the auditorium for the official inauguration of those voted into public office.

Guest speaker Missy Armentrout McCollam

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Missy Armentrout McCollam will address Girls State citizens.

Friday, June 17

Special Partnership Announcement for Emerging Leaders Scholarship.

When: 9:30 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Davis & Elkins College, Citizens Bank of West Virginia and WDTV will announce a second partnership for the Citizens Bank of West Virginia Emerging Leaders Scholarship which provides a full, four-year scholarship to Davis & Elkins College.

Closing Assembly and Graduation.

When: 10 a.m.

Where: Myles Center for the Arts, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium

What: Girls State citizens will be presented awards and participate in a graduation ceremony.

Those selected for Rhododendron Girls State are recommended by their high schools based on their interest in government, leadership, character and honesty, scholarship, cooperativeness, community participation, knowledge of parliamentary procedures and demonstration of above average scholastic achievement.