ALLIANCE - Monica Granata says she doesn't think she ever has changed clothes so fast. Granata, a senior at Columbian High School, was one of 20 members of State Highway Patrol at Buckeye Girls State last week.
She said after taking the test to get on the patrol, she thought she wasn't going to make it because only 20 girls were to be selected. But, she got word she had 10 minutes to change into the patrol uniform of a white T-shirt and black shorts and get to the track.
She said she was shocked but excited she had been selected.
"I thought the test was really, really hard," she said.
State Highway Patrol was just one job girls could seek at Buckeye Girls State, which was June 12 through Saturday at University of Mount Union.
According to the mock government program's website, the week-long program is designed to teach the state's young women about the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of good citizenship.
Granata said she planned to try to become a member of the patrol when she went to Buckeye Girls State because her volleyball coach also had been in the group when she participated in Buckeye Girls State.
She had to take a written test that asked questions about State Highway Patrol and write an essay about why she wanted to become a member. She said she was told 120 delegates tried out for the group.
As a member of the patrol, Granata could learn from people in the field. The girls got to learn from a State Highway Patrol sergeant, play with canine officers, sit in the patrol's helicopter, talk to its pilot, participate in physical training and play games.
Granata said she had to learn how to march military-style.
"Some of the girls have a lot of training with that," she said.
The patrol members also did traffic enforcement at Buckeye Girls State after they graduated Thursday. Granata said sidewalks were like roads. People were speeding if they ran on sidewalks, drag racing if they walked side-by-side and driving on the berm if they were on the grass.
If patrol troopers issued a ticket, they had to take the offender to a mock court and jail, she said.
Granata said she liked the friendships she made and the dedication and hard work instilled in the troopers at Buckeye Girls State. It was almost like having a second family because there were only 20 troopers, and three sergeants oversaw the group, she said.
"We all became really, really close," she said.
Ashley Burns, also a senior at Columbian, was a member of the city of Taft's school board. She said she unsuccessfully ran for a court of appeals judge seat and then decided to try to get a city job.
"School board seemed very interesting," she said.
Burns said the school board had five members who drafted rules and policies.
"We constructed a budget. We came up with a curriculum. ... (Being on a school board is) a lot more work than I thought it would be," she said.
Burns said the school board members looked at a list of situations schools boards actually have faced. In one scenario, the ex-husband of a woman with custody of her son kept watching people at the bus drop-off. The school board feared it would be a kidnapping attempt.
The school board had to figure out what to do in the situation, Burns said.
Taft board members talked about what they would do. They didn't know whether the mom should take the child to school and discussed police intervention, she said.
"It was eye-opening," Burns said about the discussion.
Burns said Buckeye Girls State was fun and one of the best experiences she has had. She said she got to learn the whole time but the experience was fun. She said she met a lot of people.
"It was awesome. ... It's definitely rewarding," she said.
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