Students bound for Boys, Girls State
Carroll County students will be participating in a mock government 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 begin on May 27 at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and Girls State will begin on May 27 at Harding University in Searcy.
Juniors Brian Hall and Maddie Malotte will represent Berryville High School at Boys and Girls State.
Hall said he wasn’t familiar with the program before his teachers encouraged him to attend.
“I looked into it, and it seemed like a fun thing to do,” he said. “I’m kind of interested of politics, so I decided to go. I’m excited to learn about the politics involved in running a mock government, all the negotiations and talks. You think of Congress all arguing over something.”
“I got asked and thought it was a great opportunity,” Malotte said. “I always wanted to know more about politics. It’s a neat experience, and you might as well get as many as you can before college.”
Juniors Danielle Marshall and Makenzie Meyer will represent Eureka Springs High School at Girls State.
Marshall said she is excited to learn more about the political process.
“I decided to attend mostly because I’m really interested in politics and the political process,” she said. “I want to learn more about it so I can be more of an active participant in it.”
Meyer said she wasn’t sure she would attend at first but realized the experience would be beneficial.
“I thought about all the benefits I would get, like the recognition from colleges,” she said. “I was told it looks really good on a college application, and I’m excited to try something new. I love making new friends, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to do that as well.”
Green Forest High School is sending the biggest delegation from Carroll County this year. Kevin Solorzano, Caleb Marroquin and Carter Boggs will attend Boys State, and Kassidy Bell, Perla Cenobio and Trinity McMahan will attend Girls State.
The students said several of them were inspired to go by family members or teachers who had attended the program in the past.
“My sister actually attended Girls State when she was a junior,” Bell said, “and she informed me what a great opportunity it is and how fun it is meeting new people there and learning about our government. I’m excited to follow in her footsteps and experience it myself.”
“My dad told me about going to Boys State back in the ’80s,” Boggs said, “and he still has memories of it. It stuck with him. I’d like to create some memories, too. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and running a mock government.”
McMahan said she had heard from several people that Girls State is a good experience.
“The librarian told me about going to it when she was in school, and she still has friends that she met there,” she said. “I’m excited about getting to campaign for office.”
“I decided to do it because my teachers told me it’s a really good opportunity and will look good on college applications,” Marroquin said. “I think it will be cool to participate in a mock government.”
Solorzano said he is looking forward to the new opportunities at Boys State.
“I’m pretty hyped about meeting new people,” he said.
Cenobia said she plans to apply what she learns at Girls State in her life.
“I’m looking forward to learning about a whole lot of new things, learning from everybody there and gaining new experience,” she said. “I’ll see what I like, and I’ll possibly go into the state Senate.”