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Three outstanding junior students from RHS had the opportunity to participate in a mock governmental experience this spring. This June, Austin Hale attended Boys’ State at CSUP and his cousin Hope Hale along with Anna Jordan went to Girls’ State at Western State. These three outstanding social studies students were chosen by RHS staff. They joined other high school students from all over Colorado, attending sessions. Both Boys’ and Girls’ State lasted for six days. “We were divided into cities first and explored the city governmental process,” explained Austin. The students formed a city government, elected some officials and appointed others. They made city ordinances just like in a real city government. “My city was really awesome,” Hope said, “we didn’t have any taxes!”
After they completed the city level, they moved on to develop a county government and finally state government. Anna said that the state level program was modeled after Colorado’s state government system. “They made sure it was very authentic,” added Hope. At the state level they had a Senate and a House of Representatives. There were two political parties, and each developed a party platform. Officials were elected such as a Governor, a Lieutenant Governor, and a Board of Education.
Anna, Hope and Austin all agreed it was important to run for offices throughout the process. All three held offices. Hope was City Manager and a State Senator. Anna was a State Representative for her county, a Chaplain appointed by the Governor, and a Senator. Austin was City Party Chairman, County Party Secretary, a City Council member, and a representative for his city.
When asked about her experience, Anna stated she gained knowledge of how government really worked, but most importantly she learned more about herself, especially socially. She explained, “The social aspect was hard. I made a lot of new friends which was great, but I also had to learn to take risks. I had to run for offices and get votes from people I didn’t know. If someone did not get an office, they had to just run again.” Hope felt the same way, saying she learned about herself socially. “The only person I knew was Anna, and I had to be more outgoing.” Austin agreed saying, “You had to be independent and outgoing. You had to put yourself out there if you were going to get an office.” He felt another benefit was that the week gave him an idea of what college life would be like. All three felt that it was a great opportunity to learn and to grow as individuals.