WASHINGTON, D.C. — An East Surry student took part in a national program this week to study the federal government.
Bethany Hewett, a rising senior at East, was one of 98 young women from across the country selected to attend the 69th American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls Nation session that wrapped up on Friday.
The 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia each selected two “senators” to attend Girls Nation from among those who took part in the ALA Girls State program.
Students act out the parts of government leaders to learn more about the inner workings of the government, promote youth civic engagement, instill a sense of pride in America, and empower the next generation of women leaders, providing them with a national network that lasts a lifetime.
Hewett drew attention from leaders for being active during her week at Girls State.
Among her duties were performing as a city councilwoman, chief of police, school board member and secretary of public education. She also has participated in many activities in her school and community, including the Cardinal track team, JROTC academic bowl team, Alamogordo Music Theater, Grace United Methodist Church and Youth Surry Leadership Program.
A key component of the Girls Nation program is the mock Senate sessions in which the senators write, caucus and debate bills. Campaigns are held to elect party officials and a Girls Nation president and vice president.
In addition to their legislative forums, the senators heard from guest speakers and visited the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and other memorials in the district. Their visit to Capitol Hill included meetings with their respective senators and the opportunity to meet President Obama.
“The ALA Girls Nation experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young women across our nation,” said Martha Lee Thatcher, ALA Girls Nation national chairman. “After attending their local ALA Girls State program and then ALA Girls Nation, the girls come back to their communities filled with patriotism and pride, having gained new leadership skills and built strong connections with the other girls.”