In mid June, Mount Si High School student, Kenzington Dupree, represented both Snoqualmie and Seattle at a program she thinks more students should know about – Girls State.
The American Legion-sponsored program operates in each state across the country. It’s a distinguished mock government program that gives high school girls the chance to learn first-had how state and local governments work by spending an intensive week living together as self-governing citizens.
Washington’s Girls State recently took place at Central Washington University. Kenzington said although the program is relatively small in Washington, in the south (where she’s from), it’s a huge honor to be chosen to compete at Girls State – and there’s even the opportunity to earn college scholarships and possibly go on to meet the President.
Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson and City Administrator Bob Larson even help prepare her for the tournament. At the week-long event, Kenzington received training in the workings of city, county and state level governments. She said attendees also got the chance to take mock bar and parliamentary process exams if they pursued serving in the court.
Kenzington said during her intensive week at Girls State she learned how to actively participate in a traditional two-party government, how to draft bills and enact them into law, how to set political platforms, establish taxes around her mock city and how to debate in order to pass bills onto her mock governor.
Kenzington had big aspirations for her week. She set out with goal of running for senator, but ended up pursuing the office of governor, which had some political process ups and downs. After earning an endorsement, a communication error disqualified her.
So the choice was give up or campaign to be a write-in candidate. She chose the latter, became a write in candidate and to everyone’s surprise, became her party’s candidate – a feat that hadn’t been accomplished at Girls State in 20 years. But unfortunately, Kenzington said her party was the minority so she ended up as runner-up Governor.
After the governor loss, Kenzington went on to serve in the ‘Gold House of Representatives,’ ran for leader of her party – and won! She led the debates about bills, including contentious topics like gun laws, death penalty laws, and one crazy bill about dogs wearing tutus. Yes, you read that right… dogs in tutus.
She is now off to the University of Washington’s Foster Young Women Leadership conference, where she says she’ll get to experience the world of business and speak to influential entrepreneurs.
Kenzington said loved Girls State and learned many valuable life lessons. Her hope is that she can help other Mount Si juniors, soon to be seniors, attend this amazing program.
Each participant has to be sponsored by an American Legion Auxiliary unit. Kenzington was sponsored by Post 204. Anyone with questions can contact her at Kenzington08@gmal.com.