Local students bound for Boys, Girls State
Carroll County students will be practicing politics this summer at Arkansas Boys State and Arkansas Girls State.
According to ArkansasGirlsState.com and ArkansasBoysState.com, the programs are sponsored by the American Legion Department of Arkansas and immerse high school juniors in civics education, teaching them about the duties, privileges and participation in the functioning of their government by having them live together in mock cities and counties as self-governing citizens.
Boys State will be from May 28 to June 2 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and Girls State will be from May 28 to June 2 at Harding University in Searcy.
Marco Berrios, Claira Watson and Nora Waller will be representing Berryville High School at Boys and Girls State.
Watson said about 200 students will form a government and participate as citizens for a week, making laws and learning the ins and outs of the governmental process.
“I think it will be neat to see how my role as a citizen plays because we all participate,” she said. “The program gives you an inside look at what a democracy is.”
Waller said the students will be divided into different counties and can run for different offices, including governor.
“One girl will actually get to be the governor of Arkansas,” she said. “The candidates will give speeches, and we’ll get to vote like in a real election. We actually get to go to the Capitol one day, too.”
Berrios said it will be interesting to run a mock government with a group of students.
“You’re going to be with this group of people where some think a lot like you, and some are the exact opposite,” he said. “It’s really going to open us up to new and different ideas, especially when it comes to political aspects.”
Berrios continued, “I have a strong interest in political science, and this program gives us the chance to really live out those dreams of ‘what if you run for public office?’ You never know. It may happen one day.”
Linzy Wolfinbarger, Dalton Arnold, Brandon Ray, Faith Martin and Annissa Cline will be representing Eureka Springs High School at Boys and Girls State.
Wolfinbarger said they heard about the program from the school counselor and thought it would be interesting to participate.
“I thought it would be a good experience to have for college,” said Arnold.
“I’m excited to be learning more about how the government works,” Martin said.
Ray said he is excited to meet new people and hear different viewpoints while participating in the mock government.
Felipe Diaz, Elber Lopez, Vanessa Perez, Cheyenne Zimmerman, Gabriella Salazar and Trinity Tegley will be representing Green Forest High School at Boys and Girls State.
Diaz said the program is about learning how the government works from the local level all the way up to the federal level.
“It’s just something that’s good for everyone to know, even if you’re not going to go into politics,” he said. “It’s about learning how you can contribute to society and influence changes in your community.”
Tilley said she is excited for the program because it gives students the chance to experience something new and different.
“It’s something you don’t normally get offered in high school,” she said. “I’m excited to be trying something new, branching out and learning new things.”
Zimmerman said she is interested in seeing what the daily lives of people in politics are like.
“We’ll be getting out of Green Forest and getting to hang out where they hang out and experience what they experience,” she said. “I think we will learn a lot from this experience.”
The students will leave for Arkansas Boys and Girls State on Sunday, May 28.