Girls State comes to Troy for first time

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2000

Staff Writer

Feb. 16, 2000 10 PM

Troy State University will be a part of history this summer.

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For the first time in 50 years, Alabama Girls State will not be held on the campus of Huntington College in Montgomery, but will be at TSU.

"We decided to bid out Girls State this year and Troy State had the best proposal," said Girls State Director Stacy Fountain.

"We are impressed with the facilities at the university and we think the young women will have an excellent experience in Troy."

The annual educational experience for girls just finishing their junior year of high school will be held June 4-9.

Girls State is a week-long event during which about 400 girls from across the state participate in citizenship training by stepping into the shoes of political leaders.

Sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Girls State puts young women in leadership roles.

The participants are divided into municipalities and have the opportunity run for local and state offices. Those elected representatives and senators, propose legislation and debate bills on the House and Senate floors.

Fountain said the highlight of the week is election of the governor.

During the week, the girls have the opportunity to hear prominent speakers, such as the governor, lieutenant governor and local elected leaders.

While they are learning about Alabama government, the young ladies also have the opportunity to meet other teens from across the state and learn about different communities.

Barbara Patterson is probably looking forward to Girls State as much as those who will be delegates.

She has been a part of Girls State the past several years and as an employee of Troy State, her role will take on more significance, this year.

"I think it’s going to be a good change," Patterson said. "Everybody I’ve talked to is real excited."

While those involved with Girls State are looking forward to this year, TSU officials are as well.

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor of the Troy State University System, said the announcement of Girls State selecting TSU is exciting news.

"We are well aware of the outstanding track record of Girls State," Hawkins said. "It offers some of the best leadership training available for high school students.

"What these young women learn about citizenship and responsibility from Girls State will prepare them well for whatever career paths they choose."

In addition to the benefit to the university campus, the Troy community will benefit, as well, said Tom Davis of TSU’s office of public affairs.

When parents come the first day to leave their daughters to one of the experiences of a lifetime, they will likely make an economic impact in Troy. Many parents will be returning at the end of the week for the closing ceremonies.