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Wonder women: Lexington One student leaders shine at Palmetto Girls State

From among 650-plus student delegates across South Carolina, two Lexington District One rising River Bluff High School Seniors Laura-Louise Rice and Sydney Ann Torbett were chosen to represent this year’s Palmetto Girls State attendees as governor and lieutenant governor.

Delegates last elected a governor and lieutenant governor from the same high school in the 1980s.

During the June 11–17, 2017, 71st session of the American Legion Auxiliary Palmetto Girls State held at Presbyterian College, organizers packed the week with leadership training, hands-on learning about state and local government, and panels of guest speakers who are experts in their field.

“Our goal is to empower these young women to step out of their comfort zones and reach levels that they never thought would be possible,” said Sabra S. Denny, ALA Palmetto Girls State assistant director and Meadow Glen Elementary School teacher.

Upon arrival, student delegates divided into “cities” to create their own governments. Teaming up with new friends, they worked late into the night on policies and campaign platforms, gave passionate speeches in support of their causes, and capped off the week by stepping across the aisle for a dance party with Palmetto Boys State attendees.

“All of our delegates have very bright futures in front of them, and they will leave with a sense of pride for our state, for women and for themselves,” Denny said.

Delegates must be rising seniors who have demonstrated leadership skills and community involvement. Since 1947, the American Legion Auxiliary in South Carolina has organized Palmetto Girls State activities.

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