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2009 News Releases

Leadership on Campus: Girls State meets at Longwood

June 29, 2009

Girls State delegates file into Jarman Auditorium to listen to one of several speakers Girls State delegates file into Jarman Auditorium to listen to one of several speakers

The state's top three elected officials and both gubernatorial candidates recently visited Longwood University for Virginia Girls State, a week-long citizenship seminar sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.

Gov. Tim Kaine, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bill Mims, and gubernatorial candidates State Sen. Creigh Deeds and former Attorney General Bob McDonnell were among the visitors who addressed the delegates. Some 605 rising high school seniors participated in this year's session June 21-27. Virginia Girls State was first held in 1947 and has been held annually on the Longwood campus since 1974.

Delegates conduct the municipal affairs of government after breaking up into two parties and 14 "cities." One of the week's highlights is the election of a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Those elected this year were Leah Coates of Colonial Beach, governor; Kayla Upadhyaya of Midlothian; lieutenant governor; and Bolanle Muritala of Richmond, attorney general. Coates succeeds Kathleen So of Fairfax and, as is the custom, will return and preside over next year's session.

Governor Tim Kaine addresses Girls State 2009 delegates at Longwood University
Governor Tim Kaine addresses Girls State 2009 delegates at Longwood University

Participants in Virginia Girls State also elect two delegates to Girls Nation, which will be held July 18-25 in Washington, D.C. The delegates are Jennifer Oakes of Annandale and Eva Outzen of Burke.

Virginia Girls State is directed by Bonnie Crews of Rustburg, who was a Girls State delegate in 1971 when it was held at then-Radford College. The theme for this year's session was "Preserving the Past, Preparing for the Future."