VERMILLION, S.D. – The 72nd annual American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State drew 365 girls to the University of South Dakota last week, which concluded with the traditional election of officers and presentation of awards.
Under the direction of Cheryl Hovorka, ALA SD Girls State Director, the participants who will enter their senior year of high school this fall were selected from across the state based on scholastic achievement, leadership skills and interest in government.
Calico Ducheneaux of Mobridge was elected ALA SD Girls State Governor and Riley Aasby of Highmore was elected Lieutenant Governor. Additional elections included Amy Pham of Sioux Falls, Attorney General; Jueun Nam of Sioux Falls, Secretary of State; Sydney Hoffman of Bridgewater, State Auditor; Samantha Olson of Aberdeen, State Treasurer; Grace Brose of Box Elder, Commissioner of School and Public Lands. Elected to the Public Utilities Commission were Perla Chavez Alarcon of Yankton, Sydney Leidholt of Warner, and Tia Vlasman of Yankton.
In non-political elections, ALA Girls State delegates elected Kennedy Kaitfors of Spearfish, Taylor Tarr of Vermillion, Katelynn Van Dusseldorp of Pierre, Keaghan Duffy of Rapid City, Bryn Ellwein of Sioux Falls, and Autumn Wieseler of Gettysburg as six Justices to serve on the Supreme Court. Alexandra Feiner of Mitchell was elected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Shelby Specht of Sioux Falls was chosen as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Keilly Gunther of Aberdeen was elected House of Representatives Majority Leader while Madeline Baldwin of Canton was elected House of Representatives Minority Leader. The Senate selected Tatiana Chance of Sioux Falls as President Pro Tempore with Tori Rassmussen of Hudson as Senate Majority Leader and Noel Kusek of Yankton as Senate Minority Leader.
Jeanna Kellogg of Sioux Falls was selected as the Nationalist Party Chairwoman and Abigail Ryan of Rapid City as the Nationalist Party keynote speaker. The Federalist Party elected Catlin Kroemer of Milbank as keynote speaker and the Federalist Party elected Tatiana Chance of Sioux Falls as Party Chairwoman.
Morgan Roberts of Spearfish was the recipient of the Outstanding Journalist award and Katherine Osmundson of Sioux Falls received the highest citizen’s exam score. Lauren Kelly of Sioux Falls was selected as the Outstanding ALA SD Girls State Citizen and Jane Walsh of Sioux Falls was selected as the Outstanding Speaker. Kenna Comer of Spearfish was selected Outstanding Speaker of the Senate and Grace Campbell of Gregory was selected as Outstanding Speaker of the House.
Awards were also presented to Allison Dix of Aberdeen, Outstanding Prosecuting Attorney; Maci Colberg of White, Outstanding Defense Attorney; Abbie Siefken of Aberdeen, Outstanding Appellant Attorney; Kristin Kotas of Emery, Outstanding Appellee Attorney; Journey Mehlhaf of Menno, Outstanding Circuit Court Judge; and Brittany Karge of Springfield as Outstanding Forensic Investigator.
Morgan Roberts of Spearfish and Maycee Wieczorek of Piedmont were chosen as delegates to represent South Dakota at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation in Washington, D.C., with Mary-Katherine Schlichte of Rapid City and Keaghan Duffy of Rapid City serving as alternates.
Caitlyn Nielson of Brookings was selected as the 2018 recipient of a $1,100 Samsung American Legion Scholarship. Jordan Thompson of Pierre was awarded the Bonnie Slade Memorial Scholarship, Anna Schwader of Winfred was award the Helen Gottsleben Memorial Scholarship, and Cassandra Kenobbie of Salem received the Travis Memorial Scholarship.