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Dirigo Girls State exceeds expectations
Elizabeth Adley (right) takes part in the candle light ceremony at the 2013 Dirigo Girls State graduation.
REGION -- Mountain Valley High School junior Elizabeth Adley got more than she bargained for at Dirigo Girls State, a program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.
Prior to attending, she had a few doubts but looked forward to making the most of the experience.
Adley explained, “I was very nervous to go to Girls State because I had never been away from home for that long and I would have a roommate. I also expected learning more about politics and our government that I was excited for!”
Despite her doubts, she thrived in the atmosphere of camaraderie she found.
“Girls State went above and beyond my expectations,” Adley said enthusiastically. “I met so many amazing people and made great friends. We didn't only learn about the government, we made a government. I liked learning every part, small or large, of how our country runs.”
To foster understanding of how the government works, the American Legion Auxiliary created Dirigo Girls State. High school juniors from across the state gather for a five-day program to learn about their government. They campaign for local, county and state offices in the “state of Dirigo.”
“I ran for the county treasurer but unfortunately didn't get it! I lost to an amazing girl so I was okay with it! Everyone who didn't become apart of an office got to be a lobbyist and support things that they believed in,”Adley said.
Beyond learning first hand about government and the political process, Girls State participants meet politicians and role models for lives of governmental service.
Adley explained, “We heard from Governor Lepage, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, and the Mayor of Waterville Karen Heck. We were able to ask them questions that concerned us which was really awesome.”
She discovered that not all of the political process is as boring as her classmates think. The participants held a rally where the gubernatorial candidates state their platform and urge girls to cast their votes for the candidate.
Adley said, “The rally was the most fun part of the week. We sang and cheered to support our candidate for governor. I will definitely never forget it!”
All in all, she learned both the content that was presented and experienced what her future may hold as a college student.
“I learned how town, senate, and house of representative meetings are run,” Adley stated. “I learned the steps of an elections and how the government breaks up into many different pieces – town, county and state. Not only did I learn about politics, I also learned what college will be like after staying in the dorms with a roommate and being away from home. I'm really glad that I got to go and it was a wonderful experience!”
Adley concluded, “I appreciate the hard work of the American Legion Auxiliary. Without their efforts and wonderful support, I wouldn’t have had such a great experience.”