The Girls are back in town
Palmetto Girls State mayors take their office oaths
The mayors of the cities stood Monday morning to take oaths pledging to fulfill the obligation of their office, as Palmetto Girls State got off to a rousing start at Presbyterian College.
Clinton Mayor Pro-tem Jimmy Young administered the oaths to about 20 mayors, the leaders of one political segment for the citizens of Girls State. The leadership development week for high school juniors is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.
“You will have many opportunities for personal growth,” Young told the citizens, immersed in politics and leadership at PC during the week of June 10-16. This Friday, they will travel to Columbia for a joint appearance with delegates of Palmetto Boys State convened at Anderson University.
“You will spend time on one of the most beautiful campuses in South Carolina,” Young said, “and we hope you will spent four years with us.”
Larry Mulhall, campus security director, gave the delegates a safety briefing, and Girls State leaders and staff worked with the delegates on their singing and movements. The high-energy assemblies in Belk Auditorium have the delegates divided into their cities, and serve as a complement to cities’ and counties’ along with political parties’ activities in smaller groups. Political activity is a driving force at Girls State, and for 2018, the week’s activities coincide with Republican and Democratic primary elections for state and local offices (June 12).
Delegates will hear from a number of political figures during their assemblies this week.
This is the 72nd session of Palmetto Girls State.
A letter to the delegates says, “Your selection to attend ALA Palmetto Girls State is an honor and is a result of who you are. For you to have been nominated and selected to attend ALA Palmetto Girls State, someone believes that you are a special individual and that you are a leader in your school and community. Your attendance at ALA Palmetto Girls State offers you the opportunity to participate in mock political activities on the city, county and state levels of government and to develop relationships with other young leaders from across the State of South Carolina.”
Delegates running for statewide office are seeking positions in the mythical state of “Palmetto,” and during the activities, “... We respect the Constitution of the United States, as well as the Constitution of South Carolina, and we respect and salute the flags of the United States of America and South Carolina. ALA Palmetto Girls State also recognizes the history and importance of ‘God and Country...,’” the letter to delegates says.
In addition to the political aspects of Girls State, citizens will be honored during a tea Thursday afternoon at the Harper Center on the PC campus, will participate in a talent show, and will have the chance to participate in daily news briefings and media activities to chronicle the delegates and their “week to remember.” A closing activity and ceremony will be staged on Saturday, and delegates will be leaving Presbyterian College between 11 a.m. and noon on June 16.
The letter to delegates says the leadership expects 640 young women to participate in the 2018 ALA Palmetto Girls State. Florence P. Belser is the program director.
Presbyterian College Hosts Palmetto Girls State
PC News: More than 600 students from across South Carolina will spend the week (June 10-16) at Presbyterian College for the 72nd annual session of Palmetto Girls State.
This week marks the ninth consecutive year PC has hosted the American Legion Auxiliary program. The one-week leadership and citizenship training program brings top rising high school seniors to the College’s campus.
Palmetto Girls State is “created to educate outstanding high school students about state and local government and citizenship,” according to its website.
“Girls attending Palmetto Girls State experience governmental procedure by simulating political campaigns, elections and the political process. They also learn about the principles of citizenship and public service from guest speakers, expert panels and staff members.”
Students, who are known within the program as “delegates,” are selected for the program based on the leadership and involvement they’ve shown in their respective schools and communities.
Peri Imler, from Rock Hill, graduated from PC last year and is now pursuing a law degree. She attended Palmetto Girls State and said she enjoyed her experience.
“I was excited to win my first election as city manager, thrilled to serve as county councilwoman, and elated to be elected my party’s candidate for lieutenant governor,” Imler said.
“What I learned from most, however, is my loss on the final evening of PGS 2013. I learned that to be a successful candidate (and human being), it helps to focus on fostering strong relationships with your peers. I learned that failure isn’t an end, rather, it is a lesson that leads to a new beginning.”
For Imler, Girls State also influenced her decision to attend PC -- and she found out she wasn’t alone in that decision.
“I was thrilled to receive a Girls State scholarship, and one of the girls even ended up as my grand big (sister) in Zeta Tau Alpha,” she said.
The South Carolina Department of the American Legion Auxiliary has organized and administered Palmetto Girls State since 1947, according to its website.