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Catawba College to Host the 67th Consecutive Session of Tar Heel Girls State

June 12, 2006

Category: Events

For the fifth consecutive year, Catawba College will host Tar Heel Girls State June 11-17. Two hundred and eighty girls from across North Carolina, all high school juniors who are academically in the top third of their class, will attend the 67th annual, weeklong session, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of North Carolina.

Top North Carolina government officials are among the distinguished leaders who will address those gathered for Girls State. At 7 p.m., Thursday, June 15, Tar Heel Girls State invites the public to participate as it hosts its traditional Flag Ceremony on Holmes Plaza in front of the Hedrick Administration Building on campus.

Tar Heel Girls State is run by seven Auxiliary members from across N.C. who volunteer their time. Chair of the commission is Kaye Brown Hirst of Salisbury and program director is Julie Cooper of Valdese, and this is their 19th year of working with the program. Other local individuals involved on staff include Dr. Karl Hales of Salisbury, professor emeritus of the communication arts department at Catawba College; Fran Simpson of Rockwell; Mary Jane Thompson of Salisbury; Grace Keener and Beverly Keener, both of Mooresville; and Susan Trivette of Rockwell, who will serve as music director.

The Girls State program is a weeklong practical study of the structure and operation of North Carolina State Government. In a non-partisan atmosphere, participants take a "hands-on" approach to learning how state and local government function. Citizens, as the participants are known, develop an understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship by creating and living under their own mock government.

During the week, citizens are grouped into cities as they organize their own local government, elect officers, prepare a city charter and conduct city activities. Citizens also assume the role of a senator, representative or lobbyist to research and write bills and resolutions for the Girls State Legislature. Each citizen is also a member of a fictitious political party which will develop a party platform, engineer campaigns for party candidates and ultimately elect a slate of officers to govern Tar Heel Girls State. Parliamentary procedure is used to conduct all meetings.

Although the Girls State Program is held in every state in the nation, North Carolina is the only state in the country to have had Girls State for 67 consecutive years, according to Commission Chair Kaye Hirst. The program is an Americanism project of the American Legion Auxiliary and an American Legion Auxiliary Unit approves all applications and nominates girls for the program.

This year, local girls from Rowan and Cabarrus counties will be among the participants. From Rowan County, students are sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Units in Salisbury, Faith or Landis. From Cabarrus County, students are sponsored by American Legion Auxiliary Units in Concord, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, or Mt. Pleasant.

Two delegates from Tar Heel Girls State will be selected to participate in Girls Nation, slated July 24-30. The names of these two individuals will be announced during closing ceremonies of Tar Heel Girls State slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 17.

Notable former Girls State participants include Bernice Lerner and Ashley Moore, both of Salisbury, who were from Rowan County and elected governors at Tar Heel Girls State; as well as national figures who participated in Girls State programs in other locations like television personality Jane Pauley, former Texas Governor Ann Richard, former Miss U.S.A. Terri Utley, and the First Female Wing Commander in the U.S. Air Force Academy, Captain Michelle Johnson.


  • Kaye Brown Hirst, Chair: 704-647-1013 (cell) or 704-633-5946 (office)
  • ;
  • Julie Cooper, Program Director: 828-874-6422 or 828-432-2822, ext. 215

Beginning Saturday, June 10, Girls State Headquarters on Catawba College Campus: 704-645-4553

Tonia Black-Gold
704-637-4393 (office)
Chief Communications Officer
Catawba College
Salisbury, NC

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