Boys, Girls State delegates honored

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2009

The flu bug and prior commitments kept four of the Boys State and Girls States delegates from attending the program held in their honor by American Legion Post 70 in Troy Thursday night.

American Legion Post 70 annually sponsors a delegate to Boys State from the Troy high schools and the Post Auxiliary sponsors delegates to Girls State from the local high schools.

Boys State is held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and Girls State is held on the campus of Troy University.

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Both are week long events.

This year’s delegates to Boys State sponsored by American Legion Post 70 are Jeb Sharp, Charles Henderson High School, and Cameron Clark, Pike Liberal Arts School.

The Post Auxiliary delegates to Girls State are Alex Graham, Charles Henderson High School and Rachel Kyzer, Pike Liberal Arts School. Brendalyn Harper, Pike County High School was also a delegate who attended through the efforts of the Post 70 Auxiliary.

Alex Graham was the only delegate in attendance at the awards banquet.

Graham said attending Girls State was a life altering experience for her and possibly an experience that will change the course of her life.

“I was really hesitant about attending Girls State because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know any of the other delegates,” she said.

“Attending meant having to get out of my comfort zone.”

In preparing to attend, Graham said she thought about running for public office in her assigned city.

She was assigned to the Mockingbird City and several of the city’s ‘citizens’ encouraged her to run for city council.

“I was elected and was put in charge of the parks and recreation department,” she said.

“There were several departments and we were in charge of keeping our hall – our city – clean and neat.”

“I was responsible for decorating the hall. It was interesting and a lot of fun.”

The delegates had opportunities to build new friendships, participate in mock government and hear from and meet Alabama leaders, including state elected officials.

They also had opportunities to join groups of special interest such as law school, lobbyists, city and county government, law enforcement, etc.

“We had many featured speakers and each one was inspiring,” Graham said.

“Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb told us that, if we didn’t know where we are going, we will not get there.”

“Sam Shaw, state auditor, said that women benefit whenever a strong woman voices an opinion. All of the speakers had something worthwhile to say.”

Alex said she had been considering nursing as a career but, after attending Girls State, she now has an interest in government.

“For me, Girls State was a very worthwhile experience,” she said. “It changed the way I’m thinking about my future.”

Katie Hale, Post 70 Auxiliary, congratulated all the delegates and said they are the cream of the crop and are looked up to as leaders in their high schools and their communities.