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The American Legion Auxiliary’s Palmetto Girls State program culminated with a parade through downtown Columbia and an inauguration at the State House on Friday, June 13.

The inauguration was held with the American Legion’s Palmetto Boys State and featured guests of honor, including Governor Henry McMaster, Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette, Secretary of State Mark Hammond, State Treasurer Curtis M. Loftis, Jr., Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, Attorney General Alan Wilson, Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court George C. James.

The delegates of the 73rd session of Palmetto Girls State are an outstanding group of young women,” said Florence Belser, director of Palmetto Girls State. “They have not only grown in their leadership skills and knowledge, but have made lasting connections and friendships that we hope they will cherish for many years. This program has the potential to be life-changing and our hope for this group of girls is that they will take what they have learned with them, apply it in all that they do and make a difference in their communities and beyond.”

The week-long leadership program, hosted by Presbyterian College, welcomes outstanding rising seniors from across the state and provides them the opportunity to learn of state and local government and citizenship. Throughout the week, more than 650 Palmetto Girls State delegates experienced governmental procedure by simulating political campaigns, elections and the political process. The Girls State delegates are divided into groups called “cities” and work through the political process creating local governments, devising political party platforms, and ultimately electing a House of Representatives, Senate and constitutional officers.

The inaugurated constitutional officers of Palmetto Girls States 73rd session included:

· Taylor Rawlinson, Governor

· Jenna Dean, Lieutenant Governor

· Diamond Sinkler, Secretary of State

· Alexis Hinson, State Treasurer

· Bricen Ghent, Comptroller General

· Faith Robertson, Attorney General

· Madison Monroe, Superintendent of Education

· May Rogan, Commissioner of Agriculture

· Elli Thaxton, Adjutant General