TONASKET — Missy Martinez Zelaya, a junior at Tonasket High School will attend the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls State this summer June 10-16 at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

The program epitomizes the ALA’s mission to honor those who have brought us our freedom through the enduring commitment to develop young women as future leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism, the group said.

Young women become knowledgeable of the democratic process and how the United States’ republic form of government works at the state and national levels.

Each summer, approximately 16,000 young women participate in week-long ALA Girls State programs across the nation.

Every ALA Girls State program operates with the same patriotic values through a non-partisan curriculum in which students assume the roles of government leaders, campaigning in mock parties (often called “Federalists” and “Nationalists”) to become mayors and county and state officials of their ALA Girls State.

The program is an immersive learning experience, organizers said. The learning, experience, memories, and friendships last a lifetime.

“I chose this program to provide an outstanding, unique, and coveted educational opportunity for the young women of our nation that instills the basic ideals and principles of American government through the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State,” said local ALA adviser Patti Hill.

“ALA Girls State is a unique and exciting government-in-action learning program in which American Legion Auxiliary members guide young women to become knowledgeable freedom, democracy and patriotic citizens.”

ALA units work with local high school educators to identify girls who have demonstrated leadership qualities.

Eligible female students are then recommended and selected by sponsoring ALA units. Female delegates to ALA Girls State programs must be a legal inhabitant of the United States, either a U.S. citizen or have a valid U.S. government-issued identification, have completed their junior year in high school and have at least one semester remaining.

“I’m very grateful for Kristi Hutchins for getting me hooked on this great summer program,” Martinez said. “A special thank you and God bless all my sponsors, friends, family and community for the support. A personal thank you to Patti Hill for being the best ALA local adviser Washington state could ever have.”

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