More than 600 students from across South Carolina are spending 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, S.C., 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.
(photo courtesy of Palmetto Girls State)