June 17, 2019                

Please enjoy the first edition of The Virginia Girl for the 2019 session of ALA VA Girls State. Articles are written by citizens of the ALA VA Girls States cities. Print copies are made available to each city. Please check tomorrow’s edition for a link to our online copy.


Ilona Moebius

The first day of ALA VA GIRLS STATE was a wild one for sure. Our entire city Barrett was ready to go. We met the great counselors, Ashley Rose and Jasmine. They inspired us to release our inner superhero by sticking to the theme of this year’s 73rd annual ALA VA Girls State. The motto is  “Leadership: with great power comes great responsibility” and so our wonderful counselors gave us each our own superhero identity to further embrace the leader within everyone of us. Next, we were introduced to the importance of walking in two very straight lines, so straight that any of our counselors can walk through it at any time. We proceeded to walk out in very straight lines to the auditorium where we got to learn about the true meaning of ALA VA GIRLS STATE, after an impromptu dance party, of course. Although it’s only the first day, you can feel the excitement exuding from Barrett’s hallways. All the girls are looking forward to a fun week of learning and making lifelong friends.


Gabby Moreno and Elizabeth Wahlin

Nerves, excitement, and anticipation...each emotion increasing as we get closer to campus. ALA VA Girls State is the kind of program where you can’t help but at least make one friend. Just being on the bus together, you form some sort of bond with at least 2-3 girls, and then form stronger bonds in your city. It doesn’t matter where you are from, there is always something that will bring you closer together. Some have bonded over music and others over sports. If you’re shy, take this opportunity to step outside of your boundaries and talk to someone because you never know when you’ll make a life-long friend.

        All these emotions and thoughts swirled in the minds of the newly united Clark City, coming together for the first time this afternoon. After piling out into the hallway and running through expectations, the Clark delegates and counselors became acquainted through a fun round of icebreakers. From having three Irish dancers to being able to man a full tennis team, Clark City houses many diverse citizens. However, there is one interest that all of the Clark delegates have in common — bringing both their city and their generation to the top.


Katherine Walker and Diana Revilla

Today, the girls from CRUSH city arrived at Longwood sweaty but ready embark on their ALA VA Girls State adventure! Unfortunately, the line for the nurses’ station was as long as the line for the chicken nuggets at dinner… but let’s just say that the dining hall is McCrushin’ it. The delegates gathered in the auditorium for awesome welcome speeches and an impromptu dance party. The room was hot but our moves were even hotter! During the assembly, it quickly became apparent that spirit is a valuable commodity at ALA VA Girls State when cities were dismissed based on the volume of their cheers. But let’s make it clear, CRUSH brought its “A” game! To round out the day, the delegates from CRUSH regrouped and elected their mail clerk, “party planning committee” and the ever important assistant nightingale. We will all be humming the tune of the ALA VA Girls State theme song as we sleep tonight and are excited to see what adventures tomorrow brings!


Kelsey Briggs and Karina Guevara

On the eve of Sunday night, after the impromptu dance party and opening assembly of Girls State, the people of Draper appointed capable girls for different key roles in their city.  Among those appointed were Blyth Fuezue for Mail Clerk, Ilene Wong for Nightingale and Olivia for Assistant Nightingale, along with Catherine Sato for Purchasing Clerk. Additionally, Karina Guevara and Kelsey Briggs were appointed as Reporters.  These young women will provide aid and stability for their respective city through these newly assigned positions, and will certainly serve to pave the road to Draper attaining its own unique flair in the days to come.


Rebecca Lee

Upon arriving in Farmville, Virginia, hundreds of girls filed into the lawns of Longwood University’s campus. Parents, family members, and delegates flooded the dormitories and parking lots saying their goodbyes for the week. Girls from across Virginia gather in Farmville on an annual retreat to immerse themselves in a competitive environment, breach the limits of their comfort, and learn more about the Commonwealth’s operative systems as well as that of the nation’s. Starting out the experience with city orientations, girls conserving their opinions and remained unsure of what was to be expected. But, as people became better acquainted with their roommates and bonded with others, it lead to the sounds of laughter and joyous conversation filling the dining hall’s atmosphere. Upon creating an uplifting environment, the nervousness that followed the girls to Longwood quickly dissipated after spending the remainder of the day with their city. When the fear lifted and stress was relieved, the fun began.


Sydney Dudley and Ashlyn Herring

The first day of 2019 Girls State was an exciting one for both delegates and counselors.  Over 600 girls traveled from near and far to Longwood’s lovely campus, curious about what adventures the week would hold and the new friends they hoped to make.  Memories were made quickly as the first assembly of the year kicked off with an exciting impromptu dance party as dozens of girls climbed on stage and bopped to the Cha Cha Slide.  After a heartwarming description of the significance of poppies in regards to our fine military personnel and introductions from multiple ALA affiliates, the girls joined with their cities to organize individuals into multiple positions such as the nightingale and reporters.  

“The impromptu dance made me feel like I was with a lot of girls who were excited about the week ahead,” says delegate Jessie Brown. “ I was really nervous about coming here, but this showed me that this week was going to be one of the best weeks of my life.”


Juliana Calvert and Anna Groff

It was a day of firsts for the Madison Mad Dawgs. Governor Candice Mulinda kicked off the first assembly with an impromptu dance party featuring the Cha-Cha Slide. In her speech, she encouraged delegates to make every day a day of firsts by stepping out of their comfort zones each day. Department President Rose Moore delivered an impactful speech, reminding delegates to remember our lady veterans’ service. After a ceremonial distribution of poppies, candidates learned the significance of the poppy as a symbol of sacrifice and bravery. Heeding these words of advice, the Mad Dawgs returned to their hall for the first few city elections. The races were unprecedentedly close, with skilled speeches and friendly competition. After the races, the Dawgs went to work transforming the college dorm hall to the “Dog House.” Girls collaborated on posters, songs, and dances to become strong competitors in the spirit competition. After a day full of activity, the Dawgs were ecstatic to find out what the rest of the week will bring and chase their goals to success.


Idayziah Jones and Stephanie Welbaum


Here at Monroe City the girls have been hard at work! The day kicked off with a long session in the hall about city procedures and more. We learned about the fundamentals of Girls State and what to expect.  Then, after a hurried dinner of chicken nuggets and ice cream, delegates engaged in a spontaneous dance party with the Governor, Candice Mulinda that was unfortunately shut down.  Following the assembly last night, we had our FIRST city meeting and discovered each other’s superpowers and brainstormed ideas to make our city look great.  Delegates competed fiercely for contested positions such as nightingale and mail clerk, giving moving speeches explaining their individual qualifications. The girls chose their activities for the week and are excited for another busy day. M-O-N-R-O-E, Monnnroeee!


Liz Tomlin and Emmaline Eskridge

The first day of a program as daunting as American Legion Auxiliary Virginia Girls State is always overwhelming, but the young women of Pocahontas city took it in stride. Their kindness towards one another immediately helped calm the nerves and break the ice. Each and every one of them came in with open minds and a willingness to meet new people and start new friendships.

I spoke to a few girls about their experience on the first day of ALA VA Girls State. Topanga Wolf said when she arrived here she felt “nervous and overwhelmed” but after talking with some of the girls, she felt “more relaxed.” Caroline Parziale had similar things to say, “I was super nervous before I came here...but after talking to everyone and finding people who shared my interests, I was immediately relieved,” she stated. The girls’ kindness made the first day feel less intimidating and enabled many of the girls to participate more than they otherwise would have. Now, many of the girls are, as Maddie Joiner stated, “excited to spend more time having fun and learning” together. Pocahontas City is ready for the fun and challenging week ahead.


Greatness is coming


Greatness is coming


Kylie Heapes

In Tyler City, the most competitive election was for the Nightingale position, with 6 citizens running. Ultimately, Allison, a certified EMT, was voted Nightingale. Jenisa, a CNA, was a close second. Jenisa shares her advice with the Virginia Girl reporters: “hard work pays off.” Tyler city is in good hands!

Pictured: Allison - Nightingale, left and Jenisa - Assistant Nightingale, right


Eve Austin and Julia Finken

The great city of Vance started the week with crickets, instead of a bang. The deafening silence during the first roll call left much to be desired, and after some fun civil conflict between battling ‘spirit squads’, Vance coalesced into one enthused group with a powerful chant. After some slight cajoling with the more reserved citizens, Vance made their glorious debut at last mornings flag raising ceremony with a saucy new chant. Though the city was stuck in the gate Sunday night, spirit seems at an all time high. ALA VA Girls State, in its unique structure as a week-long bonding activity, supplies the many delegates of Virginia the opportunity to expand horizons. Though it may be uncomfortable and nerve wracking to walk into a room full of strangers, the girls of Vance City show remarkable ability to break down barriers and collaborate as friends and peers. This is exemplified in the Vance city poster, though MIA in its public usage so far. With every citizen’s name enshrining the honorable name of Vance, it holds a little bit of every citizen, as it takes every member of the city to make Vance truly great.


Hermela Million and Bonita Boyer

The city of Wilson kicked of the 2019 Virginia Girl State program with a city orientation where the citizens of the city choose their respective helpers throughout the day and even throughout the night. Helpers to take store orders, take people down to the nurse, and bring down the mail were selected. Afterwards, every citizen selected their activities for the duration of the week. Followed by orientation, the city shared a delicious dinner meal before attending a warm welcome from the Virginia Girl State president, the Virginia State police,  and other officials of the program. The city of Wilson ended the night with a session to discuss upcoming agenda, distribute VGS shirts, and break the ice. There was a lot to learn about each other and the activities jumpstarted a unique bond within the city members.