Girls just want to govern
Big Horns go to Girls State
Social studies wrapped up at Lone Peak High with the conclusion of the school year, but at least three rising seniors weren’t done with learning about the U.S. Government. During the first week of summer, Sophia Cone, Samantha Suazo and Carly Wilson from Lone Peak High School attended the American Legion Auxiliary program known nationwide as Girls State. The annual program is operated in every state, and offers girls (and, the week prior, boys) an opportunity to learn about the democratic legislative process and become familiarized with its operation at both the state and national levels. According to all three girls, it worked.
“Along with learning the legislative process of Montana, participating in mock trials, and winning an elected role, the greatest takeaway from my time at Girls State was how powerful young teenage women can be,” said Wilson. Suazo agreed, “By interacting with the rest of the females at Girls State, I was empowered by their courage and passion for politics.”. Listening to the testimonies from Montana’s female legislators was particularly inspiring, as Suazo hopes for a political career. “I saw them as a mirror of [herself] in the future.”
The female only aspect of this program allows young women with similar goals to come together, share ideas, and inspire each other to continue their leadership. “I learned how to be more open minded by listening to everyone’s perspective, specifically in the legislative sessions we were able to conduct,” said Cone.
Each participant had their own reason for attending Girls State. “Immediately when I was informed of Girls State, I wanted to attend” says Wilson. “I had participated in the American Legion Oratory Competition, something that really sparked my interest in the United States government.” Cone says she felt attending would help learn more about government and felt that this experience helped her do that”. Finally, Suazo said she “chose to participate in this opportunity because knows the importance of government in our lives.” She also explained, “It is inspiring to be able to share and collaborate with other females.”
Girls State’s goal is to foster female leaders educated in patriotism and Americanism. After the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, this was the program’s 73rd year. It took place at Carroll College in Helena, Montana from Sunday, June 13 to Saturday, June 19. This selective program is tailored to girls who have exhibited strong leadership roles and who are interested in government after completing their junior or senior year of high school. Tony Coppola, the history teacher at Lone Peak High School, nominated Wilson, Suazo and Cone for this program.