By Nicole Christensen
Trojan Tribune Staff
Since 1937, the American Legion has hosted Girls State and Boys State. Nearly one million juniors have had the opportunity to learn how their state and local government works. In one intensive week, high school juniors work together as self-governing citizens and learn how to participate in their state’s government.
Participants are first divided into groups referred to as cities. The “citizens” elect representatives to the mock state legislature. Other positions are governor, lieutenant governor and other state-level officials. The legislature meets to organize, elect leaders and pass bills in a similar way to how an actual legislature operates. Other parts of the program include speakers throughout the week. The goal of Girls and Boys State is to prepare young adults for their future role as responsible adult citizens. Not only will participants meet other students from across the state, they will develop confidence and leadership skills that will be useful in life.
This year, Girls State will be held in Vermillion at USD, and Boys State will be in Aberdeen at Northern State University. The Girls State participants are Liz Renner, Sydney Rechtenbaugh, Jackie Bossman, Tiffany Anderson and Nicole Christensen. The Boys State participants are Eric Wolfe, Cole Jorgensen, Isaac McMahon, Andrew Kapperman, Nick Shumaker and Ben Gute. Renner says, “I am incredibly excited to learn about the U.S. government and constitution. I am also looking forward to meeting new people.”