Girls State is a nationwide program sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. Each year approximately 400 high school junior girls from throughout the state of West Virginia are offered the opportunity to be active participants in structured role-playing that emphasizes our Democratic form of self-government.
The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 29 works with local high schools to select the students. The students selected have demonstrated an interest in learning about government and are leaders in their high schools along with being in the top of their class.
West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State for 2014 will be conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University from Sunday to June 13. Here are this year's 13 selections for Rhododendron Girls State:
Jordan Hart just completed her junior year at Elkins High School. She is the daughter of Gary and Melinda Hart, of Elkins. She is the granddaughter of Gilbert and Nancy Hart of Buckhannon and Doyle and Gwen Hensley of Cromwell, Ind. She is a member of both the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. She is a two-year letterman in soccer and three-year letterman in softball. Jordan received Special Honorable Mention All-Conference her sophomore year in softball. Upon graduation, Jordan plans on attending West Liberty University majoring in exercise physiology with a minor in art. In addition to her undergraduate studies, she plans on playing softball at the collegiate level. Her goals are to own her own physical therapy business and specializing in pediatric physical therapy. Jordan is being sponsored by Mountain Valley Bank of Elkins.
Anne Wilson is the daughter of Steve Wilson and Rose Blake. At 17 years old, she attends Elkins High School as an upcoming senior. She is a member of National Honor Society, an apprentice in the Old Brick Playhouse acting program, and a competing dancer with the West Virginia Highland Dancers. In addition, she is involved with the Elkins High Celtic Art and Performance club as president, and is a three-year member of the Elkins High School Vocal Ensemble. Anne is an honors student and is pursuing a career in forensic science and the theatrical arts. Anne is being sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 29.
Sydney Kesling is a junior at Elkins High School. She is the daughter of David and Marilyn Kesling. Sydney is an Honor Roll student, and recently was awarded the Student of the Semester at Randolph Technical Center. She attends the Elkins Church of the Nazarene and is employed by Kmart of Elkins. Sydney is a member of the varsity volleyball team at Elkins High School. She is also a member of the National Technical Honors Society and is an active member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) and will be running for its president this upcoming school year. Sydney will be traveling in June to Orlando, Fla., to compete in a National Competition for HOSA. Her future plans are to pursue a career in nursing. Sydney is being sponsored by Davis Trust Company of Elkins.
Samantha Hall, daughter of Matthew and Meghan Hall of Elkins, is a rising senior at Elkins High School. She has been enrolled in the honors program, a member of Student Council, and a member of the swim team there for the past three years. She holds seven state swimming championship titles and one state record. Samantha is also a member of the YMCA swim team where she competes both locally and nationally, including seven YMCA National Championship meets. In her free time, Samantha enjoys the beach, camping, skiing, biking and traveling with her family. She also loves spending time with her friends, especially her brother Robert. She loves the outdoors and the mountains and is most happy at home in West Virginia. Samantha plans to attend college to study business after high school and continue her swimming career. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the West Virginia Girl's State and would like to thank Family Dental of Elkins for sponsoring her.
Tessa Krantz, the youngest of Keith and Sherry Krantz's three daughters, is a soon-to-be graduate of Elkins High School in 2015. She has been a member of the Elkins High School volleyball team for three years, and started for the varsity team this year. In addition to volleyball, Tessa has played trumpet for the Elkins High School marching band and participates in class council, and student council. She is currently the secretary of the student body. Along with leadership roles in school, Tessa is a very active member in the youth group at Rivers of Living Waters Ministries. As a National Honor Society member with a cumulative GPA of a 4.0, Tessa is still undecided about her plans after high school. Tessa is being sponsored by Citizens National Bank of Elkins.
Kylee Knight, the daughter of Traci Knight and Robert Knight of Elkins, attends Elkins High School and will graduate with the class of 2015. She is very active in the HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) organization where she will achieve completer status next year by earning her pharmacy tech certification. Additionally, she will be volunteering this summer at Davis Health Systems. She is a member of The National Honor Society and The National Technical Honor Society. She plays volleyball for EHS, serving as the team captain for the Junior Varsity team last year. Kylee has played the flute in the Elkins High School band. Kylee is active in her community. She is the reporter for the Hi-Fi 4-H club where she has raised money for the Humane Society and the homeless shelter. She plans to go to college and major in pre-med and then someday go to medical school. Kylee is sponsored by the Elkins Lions Club.
Savannah Carr, 17, is the daughter of George and Sara Carr, and Martin and Candice Roach. She attends Elkins High School, where she will be a senior this coming year. She is an honor student, who is on student and class council, and she is student body president. She plans to run for cross country this fall. She is employed at the Elkins KFC. She hopes to major in law and attend college at Ohio State University. Savannah is being sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 29.
Sommer M. Dilly, 16, is the daughter of Shawn and Cyndee Dilly of Elkins. She is an honor student and will be entering her senior year at Elkins High School. She has participated the last three years as a varsity cheerleader and as a member of the EHS track team. She was inducted into the National Honor Society in 2013. She is a 12-year veteran of Center State Studio of Dance, where she was selected as the dancer of the year in 2011. She is currently employed as a Gandy Dancer by the Gandy Dancer Theater and Conference Center. She is a committed member of Young Life, regularly attends Summit Church, and is an active member of the Vertical Youth group. Sommer will be attending her first mission trip this summer to Joplin, Mo., to assist residents with rebuilding their homes after the devastation of the 2011 tornadoes. Sommer is being sponsored by the Elkins Women's Club.
Jaycie Saseen is 17 years old and is currently a junior at Elkins High School. She is a member of the Cross Country Team, Varsity Basketball Team, Elkins High School Student Council and Elkins High School National Honor Society. Jaycie is also the junior class president and was recently awarded the Robert E. Maxwell Distinguished Youth Service Award. Jayce attends St. Brendan's Church and is the daughter of Debbie and Jay Saseen of Elkins. Jaycie is being sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 29.
Kelsey Nicole Wyss is the daughter of Cheryl and Jeff Pritt of Mingo and Arnold and Jamie Wyss of Virginia Beach, Va. She is an upcoming senior at Tygarts Valley High School. Kelsey is an honor student and a member of the National Honor Society. Kelsey is a cheerleader during the fall term, basketball player during winter term, and a softball player during the spring. She has lettered in every sport while maintaining above a 4.0 average and has been employed at C&J's Dairy Queen in Valley Bend for the past two years. Kelsey is an avid animal lover and intends to pursue a career in veterinary science. she is being sponsored by GFWC Junior Woman's Club of Elkins.
Monica Rossi, age 17, is the daughter of James and Amelia Rossi. She is an upcoming senior at Elkins High School. Monica is a three-year letterman in Cross Country and has been a part of the Lady Tiger Basketball team. To add to her athletic career she has also participated in track for two years. She has been a member of the Elkins High School Student Council and Class Council for the previous three years; she looks forward to serving her school as student body vice president this upcoming year. To top off her accomplishments, Monica is a member of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of St. Brendan's Catholic Church and is a yearly volunteer at St. Patrick's Annual Spaghetti Dinner. The Rotary Club of Elkins is sponsoring Monica.
Lauren Denise Cain is a 17-year-old student finishing up her junior year at Elkins High School. She is the daughter of Patrick and Aimee Cain of Elkins. She is the granddaughter of Ann Cain and the late James Cain of Elkins and Richard Sparks and the late Alice Sparks of Connellsville, Pa. Lauren is an active member of Saint Brendan's Catholic Church, where she also volunteers for Catholic Charities. She is a member of the Elkins High School swim team and the Elkins Otters Summer League swim team. She is also a volunteer swim coach for the Elkins Otters. Lauren is a member of National Honor Society. She participates in the volunteer program at Davis Memorial Hospital. The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 29 is sponsoring Lauren.
Hannah Jean Currence is the 17-year-old daughter of Steven and Sheri Currence and she has one brother, Jacob Currence. She resides on Georgetown Road. Hannah attends Tygarts Valley High School. While in high school, Hannah has been active in many activities. This year she was selected to be an Ambassador of Justice. She is also the junior class president, a member of the NHS, a member of RAZE, has served on student council and she is a 4-H Dance Ambassador. Hannah is also a cheerleader, played volley ball, is captain of the track team and juggles a job at the Pizza and Sub Shoppe with her other extracurricular activities. She hopes to continue her education at Fairmont State University and major in education with a minor of criminal justice. Hannah plans to make an impact on lives of those around her. Hannah is being sponsored by Little Arlington Cemetery in Elkins.