Each year, nearly 700 high school students gather to attend the Utah Boys and Girls State conferences. This year, Weber State University is hosting the 70th anniversary of the Girls State program.
Girls week was held last week from June 5-10. Girls State brings young women from the entire state of Utah to gather and engage in activities that are designed to promote government involvement and civil responsibility.
Students are eligible to participate in the event after completing their junior year of high school. The program offers young women the chance to learn about the functions of American government and democracy.
They participate in various phases of the government including running electoral campaigns, appointing government officials, drafting legislation and practicing debate skills, according to a WSU press release.
On June 10, the young women performed a mock trial. Each student was selected to perform a role in a court ruling.
They presented a trial, with a jury, a defense attorney, a prosecuting attorney and a judge. The young women carried out the various phases of the trial, and came to a ruling based on the evidence of the case.
The judge of the mock trial was Kasia Rampton, a junior at Nuames Academy. Rampton wants to be a constitutional lawyer and believes that Girls State prepares her for success in a number of different ways.
“There’s so many people who are professionals… It is an amazing opportunity to get first hand experience talking to people who know about the government, and have insight into how it functions,” Rampton said.
The Girls State program offers young women the chance to receive scholarships, as well as the chance to participate in the event at a national level. Students also earn three credit hours of political science in any state-funded Utah university.
Out of the 700 students that attend, two women are selected to advance to the national level to compete with students from various schools across the United States.