During the 72nd session of the annual Rhododendron Girls State, the chorus continues its tradition of excellence.
During the time I observed the talented ladies, Ashley Brunner, a Citizen of Rhododendron Girls State, was acting as conductor. With a sort of confidence that emulates what RGS is, the choir performed My Home Among the Hills. The song was both gentle, yet powerful, and all around beautiful. The song in which I had the privilege to hear emphasized the grander of our state and it couldn’t have sounded any lovelier than it did coming from the ladies.
By Ashley Hartzell, Lewis
West Virginia is comprised of 55 subdivisions created by Legislature, known as counties. Each county is made up of numerous elected officials who are in charge of the different jobs and roles in county government. Although every county is a separate unit of the overall state government, that all collectively contributes to the maintenance and growth of West Virginia.
By Erika Utt, Marion
Every single city in every single county in West Virginia needs to be run by a chosen group of officials, the city council, to function smoothly and properly. Each city council is responsible for hosting public events such as parades, gathering up everyone’s taxes to pay for certain services such as cutting down tall grass in city areas, tearing down evacuated and useless buildings, and paving bumpy and torn up roads, etc.This is one of the many things you learn about during City Government, run by Allison O’Konski. During this very informational class, the girls are brought in to learn about all of the positions of leadership and council in their city.They learn exactly how important each individual position is, its purpose, and what tasks the person elected to that position will have to perform.Also during this class, a YouTube video was shown on Wheeling, WV, and
By Karalee Flohr, Monroe
Irene Weber and Betty Rea, both former directors of Rhododendron Girls State, returned for 2014 as members of the Board of Incorporators and as roommates. They both retired from the position after 17 years of service, but that did not stop them from continuing to attend and help with the program. Irene Weber retired from the director’s position after serving from 1997 to 2013. She was the last director before this year’s current director Michelle Sirbaugh, took over her position. Betty Rea served as director from 1987 to 1995, and she has continued attending the event since. Weber and Rea have been making the best of their time by helping out around campus including the Country Store and socializing with other staff members.
By Jillian Wiseman, Monongalia
Citizens of Girls State 2014 had the opportunity to learn about the college admissions process and Wheeling Jesuit University. Vince Sirianni, a 2001 graduate from Wheeling Jesuit and now admissions counselor, began by teaching about the importance of letters of recommendations, ACT scores, campus visits, personal essays, and interview etiquette. Above all else, he stressed the point of making friends not only with your high school guidance counselor, but with your college admissions officer as well. After learning about the admissions process, he taught about life at Wheeling-Jesuit University. With a little over 1,000 students enrolled, Wheeling-Jesuit is a small school which can focus on the individual development of a person. Roughly 50 percent of the student population participates in sports, and all teams are very competitive. Mr. Sirianni helped make the application process for all Girls State citizens easier, by helping to inform us.
2014 Rhododendron Girls State Media Advisory
WHEELING, W.VA. (June 7, 2014) — The American Legion Auxiliary Dept. of West Virginia is hosting its annual Rhododendron Girls State program on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University, June 8-13, 2014.
Nearly 400 rising high school senior girls from across West Virginia will take part in the program creating the 51st state in the union for one week each year by setting up city, county and state governments to teach the girls hands on about citizenship, leadership and patriotism. Girls will also participate in classes on college prep, leadership, city, county and state government, as well as electives in journalism, public safety, physical fitness and chorus.
They will file for offices, campaign with posters and speeches; vote in primary and general elections and end the week with inauguration of their elected officials.
To honor America’s veterans and active-duty military the citizens will take part in
Whether its running for an office, sharing their artistic side by designing RGS literature, taking part in community projects or singing and dancing in the talent show, there’s a place for each girl to shine. Citizens learn about city, county and state government, as well as Americanism, leadership, professional development, public speaking, public safety and journalism. Learning how our democracy works by setting up a government complete with party structure and elections, Girls State Girls find and tune their voice at the week long event.
Driving Directions — Interstate 70 — take Exit 2B (Washington Avenue Exit) — WJU will be on your Left.
Wheeling Jesuit University
316 Washington Avenue
Wheeling WV 26003
The 65-acre campus sits on a hill in the center of the beautiful Ohio Valley. Since 1997, WJU has been the home of the Rhododendron Girls State program. Soon a new tradition started for the program, every year the RGS Governor, along with Director Weber, plant a rhododendron on campus to decorate the landscape, mark another successful session and leave our beautiful state flower for everyone to treasure.
Girls State utilizes four of the residence halls as well many of the 15 modern buildings that make up the campus landscape. WJU is also known as having some of the best health and recreation facilities in the region. Our program uses the track for the Party Parade and the McDonough Center all week.