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Ashdown Students Attend Arkansas Girls State and Boys State

Ashdown Students Attend Arkansas Girls State and Boys State

Submitted by Ashdown Public Schools

Ashdown High School was well represented at Arkansas Girls State and Arkansas Boys State. Reagan Burden and Jessie Hinton attended Girls State, which was held May 29 through June 3rd at Harding University. Adrian Fondren and Dylan Rose attended Arkansas Boys State, held May 29- June 3.

The American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is an educational program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary that provides for young women who have finished their junior year in high school, training in the fundamental aspects of citizenship and government. They believe that educating youth about the basic ideas and principles of government will help ensure the survival of our democracy. ALA Arkansas Girls State is a unique and exciting government-in-action learning program in which Auxiliary members guide young women to become knowledgeable stewards of freedom, democracy, and patriotic citizens. The program started in 1937 and is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States, according to their website.

Reagan was elected to serve as a ward for her city of Brownlow and was chosen and one of four delegates from her city to participate in the nominations process for the Federalist Party.

“Girls State was one of the best experiences of my life,” she said. “It was truly a life-changing week, and I am forever grateful to Ashdown Schools for sending me. I had so many opportunities I would’ve never had otherwise like being able to participate in mock trials, mock elections, and make so many new friends. I will cherish the memories and friendships from that week forever and am very grateful that I was selected to attend!”

Jessie was elected the federalist judge for Crane City.

“The best day was Thursday the 2nd,” she said. “We started by going to the capital and I was close friends with a girl named Bailey Brown from Harrison at this point. When we got to the capital we were trying to take a picture together but we couldn’t get a good angle so a man walked up and offered to take the picture for us. Turns out it was the Secretary of State, John Thurston. We talked with him for a few minutes and then continued our way around. Bailey and I stuck together and went to the Treasurer’s office to take a picture with the money from the vault and we met the Treasurer of State, Dennis Milligan. He even let Bailey and me take a private tour of his office where we got pictures with him at his desk. It was honestly such an amazing experience.”

Boys State is an immersive program designed for high school juniors. Boys State seeks nominations of the “best and brightest male students entering their senior year; mature leaders in the classroom, on the field, and throughout the community who are ready to shape the future of our state.”

The week-long program has been in existence for over 80 years. During the week of Arkansas Boys State, delegates are assigned a political party, city, and county. Throughout the week, delegates, from the ground up, administer this mock government as if it were real; they run for office, draft and pass legislation, solve municipal challenges, and engage constituents. By the week’s end, the delegates have experienced civic responsibility and engagement firsthand while making life-long memories and friends – all with our guiding principle that “Democracy Depends on Me.”

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“Boys State was something I’ve never heard of leading up to it,” said Adrian. “I didn’t know what to expect nor what to engage in upon arrival. It took a few days for me to grow accustomed to the daily agendas. But after the accommodations I received from the counselors and all my peers it wouldn’t be long until I became comfortable and started learning about a plethora of different things, ranging from life lessons to political beliefs and ideologies. I’m a believer that Boys State is an experience that is worth venturing.”

Dylan said Boys State was a pivotal week for him.

“It was not only a civics camp; it also served as an insight into people and the way the world works,” he said. “Between the inspiring guest speakers, devoted counselors, and my inquisitive peers, it was the perfect recipe for a life changing experience. During my time there I formed relationships with my fellow delegates that I know I will never be able to recreate. You’ll laugh with them, cry with them, and learn with them. We will never be the same people we were before that week. It is truly a unique program that I wish everyone had the chance to experience.”


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