ALA SD Girls State Concludes with Officer Elections and Awards

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota hosted 393 high school rising seniors at the 71st annual American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State.

Under the direction of Cheryl Hovorka, ALA SD Girls State Director, students were selected from across South Dakota based on scholastic achievement, leadership skills and interest in government. ALA Girls State concluded with the traditional election of officers and presentation of awards.

Ruhama Tereda of Sioux Falls was elected the 2017 ALA SD Girls State Governor. Margaret Fouberg of Aberdeen was elected Lieutenant Governor.

Additional state officer elections included Ashlynn Burk of Willow Lake as Attorney General; Nareen Barwari of Sioux Falls as Secretary of State; Haylee Ecklein of Salem as State Auditor; Carolyn Blatchford of Brookings as State Treasurer; Jada Tschetter of Brandon as Commissioner of School and Public Lands. Elected to the Public Utilities Commission were Libby Bailey of Bridgewater, Kate Budig of Yankton and Amanda Haas of Tabor.

Eda Uzunlar of Rapid City and Samantha Gortmaker of Pierre were chosen as delegates to represent South Dakota at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington, D.C., with Anneliese Taggart of Vermillion and Kia Witt of Brookings serving as alternates.

Morgan Kohl of Watertown was selected as the 2017 recipient of the Samsung American Legion Scholarship. Regan Stone of Dell Rapids was awarded the Bonnie Slade Memorial Scholarship, Bethany Wynia of Avon was award the Helen Gottlesben Memorial Scholarship, and Haleigh Bebbington of Pringle received the Travis Memorial Scholarship.

Officer Elections and Awards
Meredith Costello of Sioux Falls - Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Caitlyn Speier of Rapid City - Supreme Court Justice
Mya VonBank of Sioux Falls - Supreme Court Justice
Melissa Mikkelson of Vermillion - Supreme Court Justice
Heather Selleck of Brookings - Supreme Court Justice
Caitlynn McGregor of Salem - Supreme Court Justice
Bess Seaman of Warner - Supreme Court Justice
Anneliese Taggart of Vermillion - Speaker of the House of Representatives
Morgan Gosch of Sioux Falls - House of Representatives Majority Leader
Abigail Anderson of Sturgis - House of Representatives Minority Leader
Avery Scott of Sioux Falls - Senate President Pro Tempore
Allision Severson of Ipswich - Senate Majority Leader
Heidi Stiklestad of Java - Senate Minority Leader
Makayla DeDeyne of De Smet - Nationalist Party Chairwoman
Eda Uzunlar of Rapid City - Nationalist Party keynote speaker
Aine Crinion of Brookings - Federalist Party Chairwoman
Samantha Murtha of Dimock - Federalist Party keynote speaker
Lucy Dekkenga of Sioux Falls - outstanding journalist award
Aine Crinion of Brookings - highest citizen’s exam score
Hannah Sumption of Frederick - outstanding ALA SD ALA Girls State citizen
Leah Waid of Yankton - outstanding speaker
Kirstyn Bohn of Meckling - outstanding speaker of the Senate
Aine Crinion of Brookings - outstanding speaker of the House
Kristyn Albrecht of Yankton- outstanding prosecuting attorney
Ann Madson of Sioux Falls - outstanding defense attorney
Natalie Montoya of Rapid City - outstanding appellant attorney
Brianna Zimmer of Sioux Falls - outstanding appellee attorney
Kacie Mudder of Avon - outstanding forensic investigator


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.