Palmetto Girls State brings 'best and brightest' to Presbyterian College

Jun 13 Written by  STAFF REPORTS

More than 600 delegates to Palmetto Girls State at Presbyterian College began their “walking with a purpose” Monday morning as they flocked to Belk Auditorium for opening instructions.

They heard a flag etiquette presentation by PGS Director Florence Belser and a Welcome to Clinton by Mayor Bob McLean. On Tuesday evening, they are scheduled to hear from SC Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant. About 1,000 young men from throughout South Carolina are experiencing a similar leadership development program at Anderson University, attending Palmetto Boys State.

For the Girls Staters, “walking with a purpose” means striding confidently among many venues and activities on the PC campus. They already have elected mayors, and Mayor McLean administered their oath of office Monday morning in Belk Auditorium.

They will file on-line forms to run for House and Senate, in the Nationalist and Federalist parties. They will run for and vote for Constitutional officers. Girls State delegates will sing - a lot - led by their counselors and the song team. They will have a formal tea at the college’s Harper Center to meet Legion and Auxiliary officials and members.

Monday morning, each city “walked with purpose” into Belk Auditorium - each with its unique cheer.

“Thank you for that spirit!” Belser told the auditorium filled with the state’s “best and brightest” young women.

Palmetto Girls State is in its 71st year, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. Belser said now, there are dual members - women veterans who qualify for membership in the American Legion and qualify as family-support members of the American Legion Auxiliary.

“Congress sets the eligibility for who can join the American Legion,” Belser said. “The Auxiliary is the support group, and we have been around since 1919, at the end of World War I.”

As her first order of business Monday, Belser encouraged the young women to “stand tall and stand proudly” as the American Flag, and the flags of South Carolina and the American Legion were posted to the Belk Auditorium stage.

At Anderson University, the Boys State delegates participate in a “laboratory of government,” hearing from Terence Roberts, Mayor of Anderson, on Sunday; and Tim Scott, SC’s US Senator; Molly Spearman, SC Secretary of Education; and Todd Rutherford, SC House of Representatives, on Monday.

On Friday, June 16, Boys and Girls State delegates will visit Gov. Henry McMaster at the Statehouse at 11 a.m., preceded by the Main Street parade and inauguration in Columbia at 10:30 a.m.

A PBS announcement says, “The American Legion’s Boys’ State program is a unique way for young men to learn about the American system of government and politics by participating in a ‘laboratory of government’. The participants will have an opportunity to run for mock elected offices ranging from city council to state constitutional officers. Over 1,000 young men will attend this year’s encampment, representing every county in South Carolina. The event will be hosted on the campus of Anderson University.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:52