Girls State

American Legion Auxiliary President Susan Bevel, left, is pictured with 2019 Girls State delegates Michelle Taylor, Rachel Johnson and Claire Lesveque. Joining them is Girls State Chairperson Brittany Corrales. Not pictured is Rayana Boren. SUSAN BEVIL FOR THE AMERICAN-TRIBUNE

Wagoner High School was well represented during the 2019 Oklahoma Girls State Convention held May 26-31 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Delegates Claire Levesque, Michelle Taylor, Rachel Johnson, Rayana Boren and Hailey Freeman represented the American Legion Auxiliary with Post No. 153 in Wagoner.

Girls State is a non-partisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and country. Programming teaches how government works while developing leadership skills and appreciations for a person’s rights as a citizen.

Participating delegates run for office, learn public speaking, create and enforce laws and actively participate in all phases of creating and running a working government.

“The importance of Girls State is for girls to learn about their government, have a position of leadership in the government and to legislate. They learn to be good leaders and learn about our government, see how it works and why our leaders do what they do,” Post 153 Auxiliary President Susan Bevel said. “A lot of kids do not have the first inkling of what goes on in government.”

Levesque ran for and was elected as a senator for her district. In that role, she presented some of her own legislation about planting native flowers along state highways to increase pollinator populations and agricultural output, and to also beautify the state.

Taylor was a part of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Another highlight of the convention for Levesque was being presented with the American Legion Auxiliary’s Samsung Scholarship in the amount of $1,250.

She was selected for the honor based on her family’s history in military service, along with her volunteer work, school and community activities and essay based on a portion of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Preamble. She has two grandfathers and a great-grandfather who served in the military during World War II and in Vietnam.

Levesque said it was amazing to be selected as a state scholarship winner.

“I couldn’t stop shaking for half an hour because of the adrenaline rush,” the Wagoner teen admitted. “I felt really proud and excited for the honor.”

As a state award winner, Levesque is now a department finalist in the running for regional and national scholarships of $5,000 and $10,000.

Any and all scholarship funds will go toward her college education. She plans to apply to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. and study in the neuroscience field.