This is the 17th consecutive year USD and the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership will co-host ALA SD Girls State as 375 high school junior girls from across the state, chosen by the South Dakota ALA, learn about civic participation. Now in its 72nd  year, ALA SD Girls State teaches participants every aspect of American government from the state and local level to the federal and executive branches.

Students are divided into cities and counties where they have an opportunity to run for a mythical political office ranging from governor to local law enforcement positions. They will also have an opportunity to learn firsthand from state and local public servants, including, U.S. Sen. John Thune; U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds; Congresswoman Kristi Noem; S.D. Governor Dennis Daugaard; S.D. Attorney General Mary Jackley; State Sen. Craig Kennedy, State Rep. Jean Hunhoff and S.D. Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.

Inauguration of the new ALA SD Girls State governor will take place at 8 p.m. on June 1 in Aalfs Auditorium with Raina Grimsley, 2017 ALA SD Girls State Governor, providing the keynote address. The participants will be sworn in as citizens of ALA SD Girls State by The Honorable Judge Arthur Rusch, Ret. and a Military Tribute will be presented by Denny Brendan, SD American Legion Vice Commander of Watertown. The ALA Girls State Chorus, under the direction of Ethel Cooper of Springfield, will present a patriotic concert prior to the inauguration ceremony. The South Dakota Army National Guard will assist with all the flag ceremonies and morning physical fitness group runs.  

The Law Enforcement portion for the week will include Colonel Craig Price, Superintendent, South Dakota Highway Patrol teaching a Law Enforcement Class. The Yankton Police Department Special Response Team and K9 Unit are also scheduled to do demonstrations and the Clay County Sheriff’s Department and Vermillion Police Department will be facilitating a Forensic Investigation Team. Lt. Michael Burgeson, Yankton Police Department, will offer an active shooter presentation Saturday, June 2, at 8:30 a.m., open to the public.

Sandy McKeown, director of criminal justice at USD, is in charge of the judicial portion and will be assisted by area judges and attorneys.

The ALA SD Girls State community project for 2018 is supporting Veterans (previously homeless) living in HUD-VASH housing, the Barakah House and those in the Transition in Place Program. Throughout the week, ALA SD Girls State will collect monetary donations, toiletries, towels, single bed sheets, alarm clocks, shower curtains, gift cards, and household kitchen items. Donations are also accepted by contacting Cheryl Hovorka, ALA SD Girls State Director, at (605) 677-5702 or via e-mail.

For more information about ALA SD Girls State, visit their website.

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