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2014 Rhododendron Girls State

Updated: Wednesday, June 11 2014, 08:05 AM EDT

WHEELING, W.Va.


The American Legion Auxiliary Department of West Virginia is hosting its annual Rhododendrom girls program right on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit all week long.


Governor Earl Ray Tomblin landed in his helicopter Tuesday afternoon to speak to the nearly 400 rising high school girls from all over the state.


"The rhododendron girls is an institution in the state of West Virginia especially high school juniors who are leaders in their classes and leaders in their schools and their communities out there," Gov. Tomblin.


The high school girls are taking part in this week long program at Wheeling Jesuit, creating the 51st state in the union for one week by setting up city, county, and state governments.


It's all to teach the young women about citizenship, leadership, and patriotism.


Tomblin said it's a great way for young girls to learn all about the electoral process at the city, county, and state level.


The girls even filed for offices, campaigned, voted in elections, and are ending the week with inauguration of their elected officials.


"When I first came here I didn't know anything about government I really was nervous and scared to come but when I came I realized all of the girls are wonderful welcoming and warm hearted and it's a great experience to learn about government and things I never knew before," said Kiersten Fox from Martinsburg High School.


"I've had such a fun time this week's not even over and I'm sad to leave on Friday," said Caitlin Moxley from Hampshire High School.


Girls involved in the legislative branch will tour West Virginia hall this week, and take part in a service for Operation Comfort Warriors.


"Take advantage of the opportunity in life, not just girls state, but anything you have going on and sometimes you won't get the experience again so really just go for it," said Alexus Pauley from George Washington High School.


"Come and take the experience it's great you make life time friends, stay in touch with them that's all i have to say," said Calandra Oleneck from Brooke High School.


Two girls from the girls state program this week will even earn nominations as senators to girls nation that's held in Washington, D.C. in July.


"This year I've been so fortunate to be here in West Virginia for their girls state. These young ladies are the best of the best," said Donna Ray from Central Divison


Gov. Tomlin said when he participated in boy's state back when he was in high school and although it's been a while, he still remembers how much he learned.


"It's just a great week, a great experience, and I guarantee it's one where these young ladies will remember for the rest of their lives," said Gov. Tomblin.


There are many fun and educational actives happening all week long for the girls, and not only are they taking classes on leadership and government, but also other electives in physical fitness and chorus.

2014 Rhododendron Girls State


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