Abby McHan, now a senior at Calhoun High School and Heavenly Dacus, also a senior at Gordon Central were awarded more than $220, each, to attend the program at the Statesboro, Ga. University.
For one week, the program allows participants to learn avenues of government and each duties attached to each office on city, county, state and national levels, while staying at the Universities campus.
According to McHan, students were allowed to run for offices such as Senator or, in McHan’s case, Secretary of State.
“We divided into our two parties, Federalists and Nationalists, to hold a party convention that nominated candidates to run for state office,” said McHan. “Unfortunately I did not win, but I did not come out of this program empty-handed. One of my best friends from the program won the position of governor and she appointed me to her cabinet.”
Dacus was voted the City Chaplain, Party Chair for her “city”, and Superior Court Judge for her “county.”
Both girls were nominated by their teachers from the Social Studies Departments from Gordon Central and Calhoun High, according to Meadows, who says the girls had to go through an application process.
Forty-two year member of the legion and Girls State Program Chairperson, Joann Meadows, says the program is important because the girls that attend not only enjoy themselves, but it is important for them because the youth are future leaders.
Good grades, and teacher recommendations were only two of the many requirements, that represented the applicants for the scholarships.
In the past, attendees have been awarded with five hours of college credit for participation in the program, according to Meadows, who says it is an extreme privilege for the girls who are selected.
“The Girls State program was by far the most memorable summer program that I have ever participated in,” said McHan. “Not only did I meet new friends and learn about the government, I also deepend my appreciation towards the upcoming elections. I would highly recommend this program to any junior interested in it.”
Dacus expressed gratitude to the Legion, and said she overcame feelings of insecurity when first arriving at the camp, not knowing what to expect.
“If I had to name one thing that this experience has helped me with the most, it would be confidence,” said Dacus in a statement of thanks to the American Legion. “It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I could be submerged into a sea of strangers and not only make accomplishments but also make friends. The values (and crazy dances) I learned there will be with me for the rest of my life.”