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Conklin is Girls Nation finalist PDF Print E-mail
Written by Anastasia Conklin   

I had an extraordinary experience at Girls State at Western State University in Gunnison. I departed from Holyoke on Friday, June 7, with a certain amount of knowledge and returned from Gunnison on Friday, June 13, with a mind filled with fresh knowledge and ideas.

Girls State kicked off with city meetings. This year, the cities were named after Colorado rivers. My city was South Platte. In our first meeting, our counselor explained to us that Colorado Girls State 2014 had been practically revamped with new staff and certain activities. Our theme “A Whole New World” partially originated from the program reconstruction.

Throughout the day, I met amazingly kind and intelligent girls, voted for city officials and attended the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony featured several speakers. The 2013 Girls State governor Tayanna Todd quoted Maya Angelou, saying, “People will forget what you did and what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel.”

The next morning, rumor had it that any boy (boys were at WSU for sports camps) caught speaking to a girl would be punished with 50 pull-ups, and any girl who spoke to a boy would be dismissed from Girls State. Whether it had been fact or fiction, I was scared half to death when I accidentally bumped into a boy during breakfast and said, “Sorry!”

Day two began with city meetings to elect citizen positions. I was elected South Platte attorney and intended to run for state senator. Each delegate had already been deemed a Nationalist or Federalist and designated to the Senate or House without preference prior to the conference.

I began my Senate session designated as the committee No. 1 chairperson. This taught me how committees examine bills before they can be passed on to the Senate as a whole. Within the Senate, we learned how to discuss, amend and pass bills using parliamentary procedure. Legislation was my favorite activity.


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Holyoke Enterprise June 19, 2014