ALLIANCE - Twenty-nine local seniors spent last week learning the ins and outs of government at 2013 Buckeye Girls State.
The week-long program, held at the University of Mount Union, is similar to the boys program and was created in 1937 to help educate Ohio's young women in citizenship and city, county and state government procedures, according the Girls State website.
Two seniors held judge positions for their cities. Allison Arnold of Hopewell-Loudon High School served as municipal court judge for Hayes City and Ceci Burtis of Calvert Catholic High School was a common pleas court judge for Merritt City.
Allison Arnold (left) and Ceci Burtis were judges at Buckeye Girls State last week.
Arnold heard several civil and criminal court cases, including one dealing with the first-degree murder of an insect.
"This position really helped me," Arnold said. "I have considered going into law, and the position aided in what would really happen if I did pursue a career in law."
Arnold said she had learned a lot at Girls State.
Area Buckeye Girls State participants, by hometown, were:
Holly Bordner, Amy Martin of Attica; Heide Brubaker, Kristen Bowerman, Cameil Ruffing of Bellevue; Alyssa England, Marisa Twigg of Bloomville; Alaina Bickford of Bradner; Alexa Franklin, Lakota Goodin, Madison Graham, Tianna Howell, Ashley Purcell, Elyse Teynor of Bucyrus; Taylor Fletcher, Taylor Young of Carey; Erica Eskins of Clyde; Mackenzie Grant of Flat Rock; Morgan Brant, Yessenia Ramirez of Fostoria; Aurbriel Evans-Payne of Green Springs; Hannah Alspach of Harpster; Lauren Ackerman of New Washington; and Theresa Barger, Allison Burd, Emily Daniel, Ciara Long, Mallory Weaver, Kassandra Welly of Tiffin.
"I think it was very rewarding. The knowledge and leadership skills I learned will definitely help me later in life and provide me with more opportunities," Arnold said. "As judge, I learned about the campaign process, and Gov. (John) Kasich spoke to us about how he goes through different tasks and (how) to put yourself out there."
The best part for her, Arnold said was meeting people and forging long-term connections with girls of similar interests.
As common pleas court judge, Burtis handled traffic violation cases.
"It was a lot of fun," Burtis said. "The best part was meeting all the girls from my city. We learned a lot about how women should be put in leadership roles in government and that women can find roles and complete them just as well as men can."
"I would definitely go again. It was such a unique experience. There is no other program like it," she said.