For LEAD Academy senior LaShonda Price, the opportunity to join Girls State this past summer allowed her to step outside of her comfort zone as a person and a student.

In a word, LaShonda called it transforming.

“Girls State is just an overall wonderful experience in which girls who are shy or are uninformed about their roles as citizens can blossom and learn about government,” she said. “This experience assisted me in getting ready for the college application process by allowing to see that my opinion matters – at the end of the day it is me who has to attend the college.”

LaShonda, who hopes to attend Vanderbilt University or Belmont University after graduation, was one of 570 female high school students from across Tennessee who participated this summer in the 70th session of the American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State (ALA VGS) in Nashville.

The nonpartisan program is offered annually to rising seniors from across the state. Founded in 1947, it focuses on citizenship, voting and teamwork. 

“We could not be more proud of LaShonda’s demonstrated leadership and courage to run for office,” said Ms. Courtney McEwen, LEAD Academy’s alumni coordinator and one of the college counselors who nominated LaShonda for the program.

LaShonda took on the role of city attorney during the session, where she learned firsthand about what skills are needed to do the job. She also achieved her own personal goal.

“Why would a quiet girl from LEAD Academy High School choose such a job?” she said. “Honestly it was because when I left the program I wanted to be able to feel as though my opinion matters, and that my shyness was only an obstacle that I had to overcome.”

For more information about Girls State, please visit the group’s website. For pictures and more from this year’s program, please visit this link.