CAC Students Gain Experience and Friendships at Arkansas Girls & Boys State Conference
This year, rising CAC seniors Emma Dalby, Kelson Miller, Evan Walls, Greyson Price and John
Kennedy were selected to participate in the immersive citizenship training programs of Arkansas Girls and Boys State. Students from across the state gathered together for one week to learn from renowned leaders, become more acquainted with the US legislative system, and operate their own governments. The delegates were separated into the Nationalist and Federalist parties, assigned to fictitious cities and counties, and given the chance to elect leaders.
Politics is a notoriously serious and difficult topic. As such, each CAC student who attended admitted that they began the week with low expectations, but left with valuable knowledge, incredible experiences and lifelong friends.
“I thought Boys State was going to be filled with boring lectures and dull counselors. I assumed the whole election process would only benefit those with an actual interest in politics and leave the rest of us behind,” John said. “In all actuality, Boys State will be something I look back on fondly for many years to come. My county (Sloan County) was able to set a new record with 7 of our delegates taking state positions in the government system. The ‘lectures’ were filled with good speakers and engaging discussions, and the fellow delegates I was able to meet and converse with were amazing. It’s an experience I will never forget.”
Girls State was held at Harding University from May 28 – June 2. Kelson was elected as a House
Representative and Emma, who is CAC’s current Student Council President, made the decision to run for multiple positions within her city and county. She was voted county secretary, state convention delegate, and Senator. These positions allowed her to sign off on county elections, attend elections and vote for those representing the Nationalist party.
“Being elected as a senator changed my experience because I had the opportunity to sit in the Senate chambers on Thursday when we went to the Capitol. As a senator, myself and five other girls wrote two bills which we presented to the other 27 senators. There were 10 senate bills we voted on and discussed and four house bills that came over and we voted on as well. It was the chance of a lifetime,” Emma said.
The gentlemen traveled to UCA’s campus and participated in Boys State for the week of May 28 – June 2. Greyson was elected as a senator, John was elected as the Secretary of State, a county judge and a mayor, and Evan served as one of John’s advisors.
According to Greyson, the days were packed full of lectures, campaigns, assemblies and discussions within their counties. Despite all of the action and activity, the moments of open conversation with people who believed differently than he did proved to be his favorite part. This experience proved to be important to Evan as well.
“This past week at Boys State has allowed me to more clearly see the other side of an argument. I am a very opinionated person and tend to think that I am always right, but this experience has allowed me to better see things from other people’s perspectives,” Evan said.
It’s not surprising that the relationships formed with other Arkansas high school students seemed to be the most impactful takeaway from the week. Kelson and Emma both explained that they were surrounded by girls who were willing to listen to and build friendships with people they had just met.
John made a close friend and was able to celebrate with him in a great personal victory.
“My favorite moment was when Christian Walls, a delegate from my county and a friend, won the position of Governor. Christian comes from the ghettos of Little Rock where gangs and street violence are highly prevalent. He’s been involved with things first hand that I couldn’t even imagine. But despite all of that, he overcame those obstacles and won the highest position in Boys State. We as a county couldn’t stop cheering and generally being obnoxiously loud over the fact that he won. On top of that, for winning Governor, Christian now has a full ride to attend UCA,” John said.
The CAC delegates said that they unanimously enjoyed their experiences, and recommended that any future student who is selected to attend should go, get involved and make memories that will last a lifetime.
“To a future CAC student: If one day during your junior year you find yourself and a few others randomly called out of class to go to the counselor’s office, just know that you have received a great honor in being selected to represent our school at Boys State. You should immediately say yes and don’t even think about saying no, because it would be wasting a great opportunity. At Boys State you will make new friends and become a better leader and a better American.” – Evan Walls