Cassidy Ann Parrott, a junior at Cannon Falls High School, and Karly Rae Friedges, a junior at Randolph High School, recently returned from the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State held during June at St. Thomas University in St. Paul.
They joined the diverse group of 400 young women studying city, county and state governmental processes. Divided into two political parties, activities included campaigning, caucusing, debating and voting, using parliamentary procedures, to fill city, county and state government positions.
The daughter of Malissa Parrott-Stahnke and Jason Stahnke, Cassidy reflected on her eye-opening experience focusing on defining Americanism.
She explained that the camp helped her understand more about American government from a perspective of the government and how it works. "I began to learn the depth of meaning of the American flag and Veterans Affairs, surrounding a love for and support of the country," she said.
The next stop for Cassidy was a People to People Ambassador trip to Europe a week later to learn how to bring cultures together. She was scheduled to visit England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Switzerland all in 21 days.
Cassidy is active in debate and speech at the high school and post-secondary education option at Inver Hills Community College. She carries a 4.0 GPA at Inver Hills and a 3.7 GPA and CFHS.
As a volunteer at Vasa Lutheran Church, Cassidy helps with holiday meals.
Karly, daughter of Scott and Kelly Sirinek, "learned a ton and met a lot of people" at Girls State. "It was a great experience," she said.
"I went into it open-minded because I didn't know a lot about government. I had read about it but not previously found government very interesting," explained Karly, "but participating in it and really living it, made it understandable."
She was in the house of representatives, helped write bills and discuss them and actually got to push the buttons and see her vote at the Minnesota State Capitol.
"We had a State Fair Day and put on a skit, and got to see and be a part of the campaigning there and in the dorms," Karly recalled. "I would recommend the experience."
Karly is active in volleyball, basketball and she runs in track. She is in FFA and Spanish Club, and is a Senior leader next year at Randolph High School. She was in speech from seventh through tenth grade.
In addition, Karly helps with various sports camps for first through sixth students, and works at the CF pool.