Girls State reps announced

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Whitley Kilcrease
Intern with The Messenger

Young Alabama women representing 67 counties will converge on the Troy University main campus this summer as part of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Alabama Girls State.

Two of those ladies are from Pike County.

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“We put a lot of consideration into who will represent Pike County and the affiliated schools,” said Ruby Hale, President of the Pike County American Legion Auxiliary Unit 70.

“It’s a difficult decision because there are outstanding young ladies who apply.”

According to Hale, the Pike County American Legion Auxiliary sponsors one girl every year from each participating high school in the area.

The delegates are chosen based on scholastic achievements, grade point average, community involvement and patriotism.

Participants chosen from the Pike County this year are Olivia Hudson of Charles Henderson High School and Sarah-Hayden Hollis of Pike Liberal Arts School. Both students are upcoming seniors.

Hudson is the daughter of Robert and Harriet Hudson. She has participated in several activities at CHHS, including the softball and volleyball programs. Hudson will also serve as the 2012 senior class president and the 2012 Key Club secretary.

“I’ve been an officer in clubs and organizations at school and I know I can handle situations that require leadership abilities,” Hudson said.

The CHHS student also said she is excited about attending Girls State because she wants to make new friends and strengthen valuable leadership skills.

“I wanted the opportunity to meet young, strong, female leaders from across the state,” Hudson said.

Hollis, the delegate chosen from PLAS, is the daughter of David and Stacey Hollis. She participates in several organizations at Pike Liberal Arts School, such as National Honor Society, Government Club and the Student Government Association where she serves as co-vice president.

“I’ve been in several government positions in school and have leadership abilities from holding offices in clubs,” said Hollis. “I decided to apply because I’m very involved in clubs at school and I want to be involved in as much as I possibly can.”

Hollis said she wants to be a good role model and it’s an honor to attend Girls State.

“I hope to gain more confidence, more experience and new friendships,” Hollis said.

According to Hale, more than 300 girls are expected to participate in the event on Troy’s main campus where students are to be separated into a number of mock cities.

The girls will spend the week learning and practicing campaign and election processes for public offices at the city, county and state levels.

Both Hudson and Hollis have expressed interest in running for city council representatives in their respective cities.

Hale describes the Girls State experience as less of a classroom atmosphere and more of a “life-living” experience.

“They learn more civic duties [at Girls State], I think, than they do in school,” said Hale. “And you meet such fine young ladies from all over the state.”

According to Lee Sellers, the Director of Alabama Girls State, the event was first founded because the Auxiliary felt that young women needed hands-on experience in leadership positions and civic responsibilities.

“Girls State would not exist without the American Legion Auxiliary,” said Sellers.

According to Sellers and the Alabama Girls State official website, Auxiliary units across the nation choose representatives who exhibit the most outstanding leadership qualities, community involvement and interest in government and current events.

The event held on June 10-15 will feature guest speakers such as Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and U.S. Congresswoman Martha Roby.

The week will conclude with a trip to Montgomery to tour the capitol and attend an instructional session with Gov. Robert Bentley.

“This really is a week of life-changing experiences,” said Hale. “This will be a week that they will never forget.”