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NCHS seniors attend girls goverment program

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While Trevean Hall, Jacob Lanham, Joseph Koelsch, Austin McCandless, Devon Melancon and Dillen Sizemore attended Kentucky Boys State this summer at Campbellsville University, two Nelson County High School seniors attended the all-girl version of the program at the University of the Cumberlands in June.

Lizabeth Rojas and Katie Seaton decided to take part in the program, offered through the American Legion Auxiliary, after being referred by others. Rojas said her Junior ROTC instructor suggested the program, while Seaton was told to pursue the program from another teacher.

Neither were familiar with the program prior to that referral. Girls State, in its 71st session, offered interactive training in the governmental process.

The teens were somewhat interested in politics and government before the trip, they said, but the program broadened their horizons on the subject.

“I thought it was really fun,” Rojas said. “We learned how the government works, how the Senate worked and we got to actually practice it,” by creating and passing bills.

Rojas served as a city mayor and said the program was a mix between fun and serious learning.

“We vetoed a law legalizing prostitution,” she said of an example of taking on a serious issue. While another law referenced the popular pineapple on pizza argument. Overall, Rojas said, it was a challenging system to learn.

Seaton was also city mayor, but resigned to chair the Nationalists party. Her favorite part of the program, she said, was meeting government officials and connecting with others.

“It was cool to spend a week with other girls who have the same interest,” and want to go into politics, Seaton said.

At school, Seaton swims, is involved with Key Club, Student Council, Pep Club, and choir, and outside of school is involved in her church. After graduation, she plans to attend Morehead University to major in business administration and minor in governmental studies. She said the program has made her more interested in politics and government.

Rojas is involved in JROTC and cross-country and track. After graduation, she hopes to apply to an Ivy League school and double major in psychology and business.

While both enjoyed Girls State, they agreed the program is one that needs to be better promoted to young people, and were shocked more girls from their area had not taken part. Seaton and Rojas also hope the program will receive additional funding in the future to enhance experiences for other students.

In 2013, Jamie Cahoe, an NCHS student nominated from the AFJROTC program, also attended the Girls State program.