HELENA – More than 130 high school girls taking part in the annual American Legion Auxiliary Montana Girls State program came to the State Capitol Friday, to get more firsthand experience with the state’s laws.
Montana Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker spoke to the delegates, then held a swearing-in ceremony for those elected to Girls State offices.
Delegates said they enjoyed the ceremony, though they admitted being nervous.
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Victoria Gomez, of Plentywood, who was elected as Girls State’s Supreme Court chief justice.
“Slightly terrifying, because you’re so afraid that you’re going to mess up,” said Abigail Lowry, from Whitefish, one of two students selected to attend the Girls Nation program in Washington, D.C., next month.
In the afternoon, some of the students visited the state Supreme Court chambers to hold moot court arguments. Others went to the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse to take part in mock trial proceedings. Another group remained at the Capitol, holding practice state House and Senate sessions.
This is the 70th year of Montana’s Girls State program. The American Legion Auxiliary sponsors the event as a way to teach students about the American system and what it means to be an active citizen.
Delegates say they’ve already taken a lot from their first few days at Girls State.
“I’ve learned how to communicate with people better, and to say what I believe in a way that’s not harsh, in a way that’s not rude and in a way that connects people,” Lowry said.
“It’s been fun – and long,” said Gomez. “You get about five hours of sleep, but that’s okay.”
Girls Nation activities will continue in Helena through Saturday.