Griffin High School senior Dakota Thaxton, Spalding High School senior Skye Criswell and Griffin Christian High School senior Rebecca Stewart were all sponsored by the Kiwanis Club to participate in the weeklong program at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.
The Girls State program, and the accompanying Boys State program, are summer events that provide students with the opportunity to learn more intensively about government, patriotism, leadership and citizenship. The programs started in 1935 in Illinois and have basically remained the same ever since.
Participants are divided into subgroups representing cities, which then elect mock municipal officials and representatives to their mock state legislature. This legislature then passes bills and holds trials, among other things.
“I had an amazing time. It was so much fun, and I plan to go back as a counselor this year,” said Criswell, who was campaigning for and elected county sheriff while at Girls State.
Thaxton shared with Kiwanis members that she learned many things about government that go beyond common knowledge.
“You learn (small) things that no one else knows,” she said.
And yet, “not only did we learn about government but also about ourselves as individuals,” she said.
Retired Lt. Col. Allan Imes, who presented the three young speakers to the Kiwanis Club, was pleased with the program.
“The more young people we can get educated about government, the better off this country and everyone in it is going to be,” he said.