Girls State representatives chosen for summer event

The annual Iowa Women’s Auxiliary Girls State event is approaching for the year. Selections for candidates have just been chosen for the event on June 19-24 at Drake. 

Similar to the Amvets, the Iowa Women’s Auxiliary holds a week-long government simulation for girls and boys. The girls event will take place this upcoming summer, but the selections have already been made. The girls get divided into different political parties and run in political events throughout the simulation. 

Jeremiah Longnecker, social studies teacher and leader of Girls State for the high school, said that this opportunity is transformative. “We have girls that come back, and guys, and come back and just say, ‘It changed me,’” Longnecker said. 

The selections for the interview process started two weeks ago and nine girls throughout the 11th grade were selected. The selections were heavily based on the participation and interest that students have shown in government.  “What kind of enthusiasm and passion do they have for this? And that’s why we ask the questions we do, to find out about a variety of things, but a lot of that is how much are you willing to talk about yourself? How confident are you in this arena,” Longnecker said. 

The social studies teachers then form a consensus for which two students will be the most successful in this event and which have the most passion for it. The two young women that were chosen this year are Keiana James (’23) and Anna Scannell (’23).

“When I first heard about Girls State, I thought the opportunity to speak to other girls about something I really enjoy talking about anyway (politics and government) in a larger scale place would be interesting and exciting for me. In addition, I knew it would be a good opportunity as a POC to be able to use my voice if I could to make an impact in rooms where POC may not have once had the ability to,” James said. 

The selection process for James was stressful because of how competitive it was. “I knew Girls State was kind of a big deal and my competition would consist of people I know who are also extremely intelligent and talented, as well as potentially competing for spots against some of my friends. It was pretty nerve-racking to walk into mostly blind,” James said. 

But James’ undying passion to make a difference in the world has driven her and escalated her excitement. “I am excited to work with other young women who are just as passionate about the state of our society as I am, and how I will use the lessons learned to influence me later as a member of society.”

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