Wakonda seniors attend Boys State, Girls State by Ally Eckert Wakonda may see some of its students in high places someday. This year Wakonda had two representatives sent to Girls and Boys State where students learn about government.
While in attendance, participants were split into counties which were then divided into states. The cities chosen are the largest cities in the country.
Alex Nielsen went to the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen the week of May 31 to embark on this unique experience. He was in Dallas which was part of Brown County. Nielsen held several offices at Boys State. He was the mayor of Dallas, county chairman for the Federalist Party, county auditor, and a lawyer. While there, Nielsen's city convicted a felon for staying out past curfew.
But a career in government probably isn't in Nielsen's future. "Politics is too much work," said Nielsen.
At least there was some time for recreation and relaxation every day.
Jeanie Stockland went to the USD campus for Girls State the same week but had a different experience with government. Stockland was in Miami which was in Hughes County. There she was the public relations director for her city and the clerk magistrate for her county.
"I had a great time and met a lot of new people. I learned tons about government; things I never would have learned if I wouldn't have gone. I think it's important for people to know about government, but I wouldn't want to have a career in government," Stockland said.
Girls State isn't just all work and no play. The Miami girls were known for their city game "markalarkers." Whenever they had the chance they would play this game, which is a lot like spoons.
Girls State also provides time to make new friends, especially from neighboring towns. Stockland is still in touch with Nichole Hofer from Centerville and Ashley Mellum from Irene.
Though it may seem somewhat boring to some, it was a lasting experience that both won't soon forget. A special a thanks goes out to the Wakonda Legion and its auxiliary.