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388 Girls Expected for 69th American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State at USD

Nearly 400 high school junior girls from across South Dakota plan to learn about civic participation June 1-6 at the 2015 American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State program in Vermillion.

The W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership at the University of South Dakota will host the event for the 14th consecutive year. The South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary chose the 388 girls for the 69th annual Girls State, which teaches participants about every aspect of American government, from the local and state to the federal level.

Students are divided into cities and counties where they have an opportunity to run for a mythical political office or seek various law enforcement positions. They will also learn firsthand from state and local public servants, including U.S. Sen. John Thune; U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem; South Dakota Attorney General Mary Jackley; and state Reps. Peggy Gibson, Jean Hunhoff and Mike Stevens. Kim Malsam-Rysdon with the governor’s office and Kim Olson from U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds' office are also scheduled to attend.

Inauguration of the new ALA South Dakota Girls State governor will take place at 8 p.m., Friday, June 5, in Aalfs Auditorium, with Madison Mead, 2013 Girls State governor, providing the keynote address. The Girls State Chorus, under the direction of Ethel Cooper, of Springfield, will present a patriotic concert prior to the inauguration ceremony. Other Girls State activities for the week include general assemblies, talent auditions, invited speakers, campus tours and various presentations and meetings. A college/career fair is also scheduled for Wednesday, June 3, in the Muenster University Center concourse.

The Girls State community project for 2015 is supporting the Volunteers of America Dakotas Berakhah House, a Veterans Housing Program in Sioux Falls that was formed to help homeless and struggling veterans. Throughout the week, Girls State will collect monetary donations, toiletries, towels, single bed sheets, alarm clocks, shower curtains, gift cards and household kitchen items for the house. Donations are also accepted by contacting Cheryl Hovorka, ALA SD Girls State Director, at (605) 677-5702 or

For more information about Girls State, including a brief history, a list of activities and events and live video stream, please visit or email


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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News