RINDGE — From June 23 to 29, 55 high school girls gathered at Franklin Pierce University for the 69th session of Granite Girls State, a program the American Legion Auxiliary Department of New Hampshire sponsors for incoming high school seniors from throughout the state, in a weeklong session on leadership, government and duties as American citizens.
Students participate in a virtual state government, patterned after the state of New Hampshire. Each girl role-plays an elected official within a town, city, county or state body.
This year, the honored position of governor went to Amanda Barker of Nashua. The girls learn about the two-party system, hold caucus, a convention rally and general legislative sessions.
Opportunities for scholarships and awards are part of the program. Sabrina Tedeschi of Plymouth won the Samsung scholarship of $1,100. Her name will be forwarded to the National American Legion Auxiliary Organization as Granite Girls State finalist. She will then be among 98 other state finalists for a $20,000 scholarship.
The Detachment Scholarships of $500 was presented to Shannah Boucher of Nashua and Hannah Day of Salem. The Dottie Hunnewell Memorial scholarship of $150 was received by Lara Murnik of Intervale. The Eli Marcoux trophy was given to Hannah Day of Salem, the Conant trophy to Natalie Fabrizio of Hampstead and the Spirit of Girls State certificate to Victoria Botana.
Immediate Past Department Auxiliary President Claudia Vatcher spent the week with the girls and current Legion Commander Maurice Anderson and Auxiliary President Lisa Rojek visited during the week to congratulate the girls on becoming Granite Girl State citizens.
The American Legion Auxiliary National program of Girls Nation, held this month in Washington, D.C., will include Molly Gillis of Hollis and Genevieve Corman of Windham as New Hampshire Girls Nation Senators.
Girl State Department Chairman Sue Buxton noted that past participants have written letters on how they used their new knowledge, and made lifetime friendships. Many of these young women have returned to assist as councilors and help in the promotion of the program to others. To see more on Granite Girls State, visit nhalagirlsstate.org.