Girls State brings back a number of wonderful, lasting memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2000

Staff Writer

The "Girls State girls from Alabam’" are gone.

On Friday, they packed up their clothes and memories to take back home after a week of fun and learning about local and state politics.

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Almost 400 young women from all over the state participated in the 58th session of Alabama Girls State. For the first time in all those years, Girls State was held somewhere other than Huntington College in Montgomery and Troy State University was fortunate enough to be the host.

While young ladies like Tori Jones and Senthy Rachel, both of Troy, experienced Girls State, I, too, experienced it again.

In 1989 I sat where those Girls Staters were sitting. And, I found as I covered the week’s activities that I had not forgotten the songs or the lessons I’d learned during that week 11 years ago.

On Thursday, I had a chance to sit and reminiscence with Cathy Randall, who was director of Girls State when I was a delegate.

When I first saw Cathy on Monday, a flood of memories washed over me and I was back to being a shy (yes, I was shy back then) high school student who had just finished her junior year.

As Jaine Treadwell and I awaited the arrival of Sister Schubert, who was speaking to the girls, I took the opportunity to talk to Cathy. I felt the need, desire rather, to share my fondest memory of Girls State since it involved her.

Back when I was a delegate all of us were divided on the last day of Girls State and were assigned counterparts who were to pick us up and show us what they do in state government. Well, my counterpart never came and the girls with me were upset while I sat and patiently waited (which was quite something for me because patience is not a virtue I possess). My philosophy that day was "If they come, they come and if they don’t, there’s not anything we can do about it."

Apparently my handling of the situation made an impression on Cathy because during our graduation, she spoke of me. During the ceremony that marks the end of a wonderful week, she quoted Rudyard Kipling’s poem entitled "If" which begins "If you can keep your head when all about you/ Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…"

Following the ceremony, she approached me and asked if I’d realized she was talking about me. I was floored ­ of course, I didn’t know! I was just another girl from Mobile who had not won any elections (although I know I could win, now).

Essentially, I was a nobody, but this nobody sure had made an impression on somebody.

For me, having someone recognize something I’ve done or written in my everyday life and job is a great compliment because it happened without intent ­ I was "just doing my job" or being myself.

As Kipling said of what makes a man a man, "If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you/But make allowance for their doubting too/I you can wait and not be tired of waiting/Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies/Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating/And yet don’t look too good, not talk to wise."


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