Meredith May, left, and Ashley Miles participated in a mini-government while attending Girls State at Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Photo by Huck Treadwell.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 12, 1999

Experiences from Girls

State enhance senior year


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Features Editor

Published Aug. 12, 1999

Being selected to attend Girls State is one of the highest honors a young woman can receive.

Meredith May, of Charles Henderson High School, and Ashley Miles, of Pike Liberal Arts, attended Girls State at Huntingdon College in Montgomery this summer and will be better prepared for their senior year of high school because of it.

Girls State is an education program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Alabama, to train outstanding high school girls in the duties, privileges and responsibilities of American citizenship.

The experience was one neither of the young women will ever forget. In fact, one of the speakers was so inspiring that Ashley left Girls State committed to do something with her life and to make positive activism a "career choice."

"The speaker gave us a quote she had learned at Girls State," Ashley said. "’I will not be a purportrator. I will not be a victim but I will not be a bystander.’ That really made an impact on me."

Ashley was already interested in government when she was selected as a Girls State representative. Attending reinforced that interest and solidified her plans to pursue a career in law.

"I have been involved in the government club at Pike Liberal Arts and I am a volunteer representative to our Student Government Association," she said. "When I was selected for Girls State I was thrilled to get to go. It was a wonderful experience."

Ashley ran for a state office at Girls State and was elected an associated jusitice.

"We got to go to the judicial building and meet our counterparts. I learned a lot and we were challenged not to leave our enthusiasm there but to come home and be active in our schools and communities. It was a real honor to have been chosen and I want to meet that challenge that was presented to us. I also met so many new people, made new friends and got to experinece life on a college campus. Girls State was a ton of fun."

Meredith agreed it was exciting to be on the campus of Huntingdon College and meet so many young women from around the state.

"I was on the Governor’s Cabinet and I got to meet our governor and see how government works behind the scenes," Meredith said. "I learned a lot about our state government and I think our system of government is a good one but we need to work with some of the people involved in it."

Meredith said she will take what she learned at Girls State this summer and use it to her benefit in her classwork this year and in the organizations in which she is involved.

She will have several opportunities to put what she learned into practice. She is president of her school government club, Hi-Y, vice president of the Key Club, vice president of Mu Alpha Theta and treasurer of the National Honor Society.

"I have learned that when you assume a leadership role you also accept a lot of responsibility," Meredith said.

The training she had at Girls State has prepared her to be a better leader and also a better follower. "You have to learn to follow before you can lead."

Meredith is a majorette in the CHHS Blue Machine Marching Band and she also enjoys playing the piano.

Proud parents are Doug and Vickie Miles of Brundidge and Ken and Helen May of Troy.