OHS junior to attend Girls State

Every year over 700 girls assemble at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg Missouri to participate in a week-long program known as Missouri Girls State. This year, Merikayt Patton (11) will be one of the 760 to-be senior girls who will form a mock government to learn about the complexity and duties of political workers.

Girls State offers girls or “delegates” the opportunity to form their own city; they form campaign platforms, run for offices, keep order by acting as State troopers or cops, and act as Senators or Representatives while going to the state capital to debate bills and resolutions. However, girls don’t need to be interested in pursuing a career in politics to go. Patton, though, found out about the opportunity of Girls State because of her desire to become involved with government.

“A year ago I wanted to be a politician and we [Patton and her parents] were looking for ways to get me more involved in the government,” Patton said. “My step-mom actually found it [Girls State] and it turns out my mom is actually an alumni from there.”

With the help of Guidance Counselor Mrs. Nancy Puricelli, Patton applied and was accepted to Girls State for this summer, and she is excited to be going. “I’m looking forward most to being around people who respect the country and politics and everything it stands for as much as I do and to learn more so that later in life I can be more involved,” Patton said.
Patton’s choice of career, however, has shifted out of politics and more towards human services. “My main priority is being there for people when they need me,” Patton said, “and so as a senator you’re working literally everyday for like 16 hours. I won’t be able to be there for people like I feel the need to be, so I’m actually going to be like a counselor or a therapist or a psychiatrist.”
Despite her change in aspirations, the OHS delegate still hopes to gain experience to help her later in life from the summer program. She plans on being highly involved in US government, even if she is not a representative of the people. “Even though it’s not going to be my job I still want to be involved as much as I can,” Patton said.