Patterson High School Senior, Kenya Ayala was selected by the American Legion Auxiliary to head to Sacramento and participate in activities centered on learning about government and the political system.
“Every year the American Legion Auxiliary holds a Girls State, and this year it was in Sacramento,” said ALA member Marge Auria. “We interview maybe four or five girls from different high schools [around the region] and pick one as a delegate.”
Ayala will spend a week in Sacramento learning the ins and outs of government from city mayors, councilmembers and even state senators.
“Kenya was voted as one of the Supreme Court Judges,” said Auria. “It’s basically a learning experience for the girls to see how the government is run and they’re busy from the time they get up, to the time they go to bed.”
According to the Legion Auxiliary website: “Female High School students are competitively selected and sponsored by the ALA units for this program, where they will learn about the political process by electing officials for all levels of state government and actively running a mock government…Assistance from dedicated ALA volunteers ensures the program’s nonpartisan governmental, patriotic, and civic objectives are carried out through interactive learning. Though the week is filled with many learning opportunities, there is always time for fun and the formation of long-term friendships. Candidates should be keenly interested in government and current events and show strong leadership abilities. Because the structure of state and local government varies, ALA Girls State programs may vary in content and method of procedure, but each adheres to the same basic core values.”
After several candidates were interviewed, each who, according to Auria displayed the desired traits to head to state, Ayala was ultimately selected to participate for the week-long event.
“We interviewed some really qualified girls,” said Auria. “It was really difficult to make the decision, but Kenya is very active in school. She has excellent grades, she’s very outgoing and she’s very mature.”
Founded in 1919, The American Legion Auxiliary has nearly 1 million members from all walks of life. The Auxiliary administers hundreds of volunteer programs, gives tens of thousands of hours to its communities and to veterans, and raises millions of dollars to support its own programs, a s well as other worthwhile charities familiar to Americans. It is all accomplished with volunteers. The American Legion Auxiliary is made up of the male and female spouses, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and direct and adopted female descendants of members of The American Legion.