Jacqueline Santiago Garcia

Albion High School student Jacqueline Santiago Garcia has been selected by the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) to represent Orleans County at the 2023 ALA Empire Girls State program this summer.

“I was surprised,” said Santiago Garcia about being selected. “I didn’t believe it at first. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”

The ALA vetted and interviewed five female students from across the county before naming Santiago Garcia and Paige Struble from Kendall as its Citizens. Madalynn Baker and Elizabeth Whipple from Lyndonville and MaKaila Abrams from Kendall were named alternates.

Less than 400 girls from across the state are invited to attend the Empire Girls State program each summer. This year’s event is scheduled for July 2-8.

According to the ALA, Empire Girls State is an educational program, “developed from the concept that youth should be offered a better perspective of the practical operation of government; that the individual is an integral part and commensurably responsible for the character and success of her government. It is an activity of high educational value, born of a need for youth training in Americanism and practical good citizenship. The entire program is a non-partisan, apolitical attempt to teach and instill pride in our youth of America a love of God and Country.”

Attendees are students entering their senior year of high school. During the week-long program, the Citizens learn about the privilege of voting, how political parties are formed and how leaders are chosen and elected to offices. The first Girls State was held in 1938 and the event has been held annually since 1948.