It’s girls week out since nearly 300 high school girls from across Arizona converged on the University of Arizona campus for the 66th session of The American Legion Auxiliary premier program, Arizona Girls State. This unique opportunity is open to girls completing their junior year of high school that meet the necessary qualifications.
This year’s session began June 2, and attending from Ray HS was Mikayla Seller and from Superior was Mariza Padilla. Mikayla is the daughter of Don and Tonya Seller of Kearny and will be a senior at Ray High School this fall. Mariza is the daughter of Jimmy Padilla and Debbie Contreras and will be a senior at Superior High School this fall.
Arizona American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a weeklong program designed to educate young women in the functions of their government and kindle the desire to actively participate in and responsibly fulfill their roles as citizens.
According to Penny Maklary, Girls State Director, this is a week that shapes a lifetime.” She explained that girls will be housed in Coronado Hall, and utilize other instructional classrooms throughout the university.
“Like in past years,” she said, “we have senior staff that work as city and county advisors, while junior counselors return from last year’s Girls State and assist Senior Staff in the education process.”
Arizona Girls State is comprised of 12 cities and four counties. There are 24 to 28 girls in each city and about 75 girls in each county. The girls are divided into two pseudo political parties called federalists and nationalists.
Precinct committeemen watch over all elections and assist political parties. Each city will elect a mayor and counsel, and they will write their own ordinances and resolutions, pass a budget and have a working plan for planning and zoning. Cities are assigned to a County and the educational process continues with campaigning and election to County and State positions.
During the span of the week, they will conduct regular city and party meetings, write and debate bills, all while receive instruction from actual elected state/county officials and learn by doing”. Midweek, they will elect the prominent positions of Governor and Secretary of State. The girls elected to these two positions will return to the 67th session and preside over that Arizona Girls State.
Culminating the week is the election of two delegates as senators to attend the prestigious Girls Nation held the following month in Washington, DC. Girls Nation is an all-expense-paid week with other Girls Staters from across the nation who will debate federal issues they present as bills, visit the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and other memorials in the nation’s capital.
For more information on Girls State or the American Legion Auxiliary contact the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Arizona at 602-241-1080.