VERMILLION, S.D. -- The 2008 American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program concluded recently on the campus of The University of South Dakota with the election of officers and presentation of awards.
Hosted by the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at USD, the annual event – in its 62nd year – taught high school juniors about civic participation. The South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary selected 449 students from across the state based on scholastic achievement, leadership skills and interest in government. While on campus, the students were divided into cities and counties where they had an opportunity to run for a mythical political office, including governor. Lyndsea Warkenthien of Huron High School and Courtney Carmichael, a student at Rapid City Central, were selected to represent South Dakota at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington, D.C., July 19-26. Award recipients and 2008 Girls State officers – along with their hometowns – are listed below.
Additionally, 15 girls comprised Journalism City, which published a daily newspaper using the Al Neuharth Media Center under the direction of Jack Marsh, director of the Freedom Forum at USD. Journalism City editors and reporters were also assisted by staff from The Volante, USD’s award-winning newspaper and the students’ voice since 1887. Daily activities during the week included general assembly at Slagle Auditorium, law and court procedure classes presented by Chris Hutton, a professor with the USD School of Law, campus tours, a talent show and keynote speakers, including United States Sen. John Thune, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin and Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard. This is the seventh consecutive year the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership hosted the American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State program.
2008 Girls State Officers/Award Recipients
Governor: Whitney Jencks of Arlington; Lt. Governor: Shanon Skillman of Vermillion; Supreme Court Chief Justice/Supreme Court Justice 6th District: Erin O’Connor of Sioux Falls; Supreme Court Justice 1st District: Charissa Johnson of Box Elder; Supreme Court Justice 2nd District: Meg Henrickson of Yankton; Supreme Court Justice 3rd District: Naomi Furman of Aberdeen; Supreme Court Justice 4th District: Sarah Luebke of Corsica; Supreme Court Justice 5th District: Logan Kool of Watertown; Supreme Court Justice 7th District: Ashley Losing of Alpena; Attorney General: Alexzandra Neville of Aberdeen; Secretary of State: Katie Rall of Sioux Falls; State Auditor: Margaret Free of Sioux Falls; State Treasurer: Brigitte Gross of Alexandria; Commissioner of School & Public Land: Kimberly Kokesh of Wagner; Public Utilities Commissioners: Allison Clarke of Howard, Allison Lightfield of Watertown and Meighan Robbins of White; Speaker of the House: Rebecca Naasz of Platte; President of Citizen Forum: April Knutson of Volga; Vice President of Citizen Forum: Tanya Kapoor of Sioux Falls; Best Defense Attorney: Chelse Ludvik of White River; Best Prosecuting Attorney: Molly Kokesh of Scotland; Best Appellee Attorney: Jessica Eide of Hot Springs; Best Appellant Attorney: Alexandra Chase of McIntosh; Outstanding Speaker: Teresa Johnson of Sioux Falls; Outstanding Citizen: Bethany Gross of Alexandria; Highest Exam Scores: Allyson Burns of Rapid City and Alicia Enterman of Vermillion; State Party Chair (Nationalist): Kristin Wempe of Mitchell; State Party Vice Chair (Nationalist): Samantha Bullard of Pierre; State Party Secretary (Nationalist): Lauren Werth of Aberdeen; State Party Chair (Federalist): Emma Heggen of Canton; State Party Vice Chair (Federalist): Francesca Fogarty of Sioux Falls; State Party Secretary (Federalist): Larissa Bucholz of Tripp; Keynote Speaker (Nationalist): Teresa Johnson of Sioux Falls; Keynote Speaker (Federalist): Tanya Baldwin of Milbank; Samsung Scholarship: Tanya Baldwin of Milbank; Bonnie Slade Memorial Scholarship: Laura Hey of Sioux Falls; Outstanding Journalist: Madelyn Essig of Mitchell; Travis Memorial Scholarship: Ellen Reinecke of Sioux Falls; Girls Nation Delegate: Lyndsea Warkenthien of Huron and Courtney Carmichael of Rapid City; Girls Nation 1st Alternate: Elizabeth Lamb of Onida; Girls Nation 2nd Alternate: Meg Hendrickson of Yankton.