Seniors Hope Headley & Adeline Newhart joined high school seniors from around Arkansas for the 2018 American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls State leadership conference held this summer at Harding University in Searcy.

Hope is the daughter of Mark and Dasha Headley. The Lavaca senior serves as Student Council Secretary and FCCLA Treasurer. She is a member of the girls volleyball and basketball teams. She is actively involved in Beta Club, FCA, and First Lavaca youth group.

Adeline is the daughter of Justin and Marcie Newhart. The Lavaca senior serves as FBLA President, Beta Club Vice President, FCCLA Vice President of Public Relations, Student Council Vice President, and Senior Class Vice President. She is also a member of FCA, FSBC youth group, and LHS Yearbook Editor.

Girls State is a yearly leadership conference that brings together top female students from schools around the state of Arkansas to learn about the responsibilities of citizenship and what it means to love one’s state and country. The ALA program is designed to develop leadership skills as well as a sense of pride and confidence in our system of government and traditions. When asked to describe the event, Hope said “Girls State was such a great experience for me! I learned many new things throughout the week and I was able to meet so many great people. I’m very blessed I got the opportunity to go.” Adeline expresses gratefulness for her Girls State experience. When asked to sum up the experience, she said “I am thankful for my parents and teachers who have purposely invested and poured encouragement into me over the years. I was able to make so many connections with girls across the entire state of Arkansas, and that was so much fun on its own.”

Seniors, Jonathon Hollon & Haedden Vereecke attended the 2018 American Legion Auxiliary’s Boys State in Conway, AR. Jonathon is the son of Jon Hollon. The Lavaca senior is involved in Student Council and is a member of the football team. Haedden is the son of Jason and Chasity Vereecke. The Lavaca senior is Class President and FBLA Secretary. He is also a member of Beta Club and Student Council. While at Boys State, Jonathon and Haedden interacted with students from all over the state learning about local government and its operations while incorporating hands on learning with fun activities. The American Legion Auxiliary believes it is important for youth to fully understand the importance of municipal and local governments from the school boards on up to city councils and eventually state representatives and federal government officials. During the week of Boys State, all the representatives were separated into eight counties. From those counties, they were assigned a city and split into parties. The students were busy all day by getting up every morning at 6am to raise the flag followed by eating breakfast. The days consisted of attending meetings and listening to speakers including elected officials in our government throughout the day. Jonathon describes the experience as “unforgettable.” When asked what he took away from the event, he said, “I made a lot of friends that I still talk to today, the week truly changed my life.” Haedden describes his experience as “a great opportunity that taught me leadership skills and the importance of everyone’s voice.