By Marisa Gomez ’15
At the end of June this past summer, I was one of 500 California high school girls who gathered at Claremont McKenna College for the annual Girls State Conference which is sponsored b y the American Legion Auxiliary. During this six-day adventure, we all worked together to learn about government and politics by creating our own state. This required each of us to be assigned to a city upon our arrival. I was in the City of Lassen in the County of Bidwell. In each of these cities we elected a mayor among other officials, including one senator and one assembly member. I was appointed to the position of Chief Clerk of the Senate. My duties included filing countless bills and resolutions both physically and electronically, as well as reading each of them aloud to the Senate in an effort to get each of them passed and sent to the Assembly. I was able to observe outstanding girls debating about important issues that we face today such as education, agriculture, and health and human services.
Subsequently, county and state officials were elected, including the most sought after position of Governor which ended up being the young lady that I was a Verification Deputy (campaign manager) for. At the end of this week full of laughs, lack of sleep, yummy food, rallies, and political parties, four young women (two delegates and two alternates) were chosen to attend Girls Nation and attend Washington D.C. to meet the President and participate in a realistic senate consisting of two ladies from each state. I was blessed to be chosen as one of the alternates.
The group of ladies in Girls State was different from any other group I have encountered. All of the delegates were extremely involved, both in our communities and in our schools. They were also accomplished academically and each one was driven. This leveled the playing field, creating an environment where girls are understanding, challenged, and completely humbled by the accomplishments of one another.
Girls State is an absolutely amazing program and I am grateful to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 6 which has been sponsoring OLP delegates for this program for the last five years. This program is for incoming seniors and is facilitated by OLP’s Social Studies Department. I would encourage current juniors to apply for this life-changing opportunity.