Palmetto Boys and Girls State: “Let One Week Begin Your Life!”

Spartanburg High students participate in the annual event

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Photo by C. Millinor

A nightly assembly at Palmetto Boys State.

Foster Neely, Student Life Editor

Rising high school seniors from all over South Carolina meet annually at Anderson University for  Palmetto Boys State (PBS) and Presbyterian College for Palmetto Girls State (PGS), and this summer was no exception. According to palmettoboysstate.com, the opportunity is “a unique way for young men (or women) to learn about the American system of government and politics by participating in a mock governmental system.” Every young man or woman that attends one of these programs has the opportunity to run for a mock office, which ranges from city council member to governor.

Ford Daniels (12) attended PBS this summer and decided to run for governor. Out of approximately 50 other candidates, he was elected governor – the first SHS student to serve as governor in decades.

“I did not arrive at Boys State with the thought of running for governor. However, after I was elected to the Senate, my confidence began to grow, and the members of my city and my party rallied behind me, which inspired me to put my name on the ballot. At first, I did not expect to win the office of governor; however, the members of my city and my party uplifted me with their undying support. At that moment, with their incredible support, I knew I had a great chance to win,” Daniels said.

Within these two programs, citizens are divided into cities, which are named after state rivers, and then into counties, which are named after famous South Carolinians. Citizens are then divided into two political parties. Within these parties, candidates are selected and supported by their party members through elections. Cities can also compete in various other activities, including college bowl trivia, spirit, athletics and other events. Alumni from Boys State and Girls State also have the opportunity to return as a junior counselor in later years.

Daniel Stephens (12) attended Boys State because he has always been interested in how state and local governments are run.

“My favorite part of Boys State was probably the bond and brotherhood that I was able to form with 23 other random guys from across the state in just a week.  I have an older sister who went to Girls State, and I’ve heard of older friends who have gone in past years so I thought it would be a cool experience,” Stephens said.

My favorite part of Palmetto Boys State was probably the bond and brotherhood that I was able to form with 23 other random guys from across the state in just a week.”

— Daniel Stephens (12)

Rookhie Sullivan (12) was a part of Palmetto Girls State and was able to make the most of the opportunity.

“Even though Girls State lasted a week, the bonds made there will last much longer. We learned about leadership qualities and government positions, but we also learned about being good friends and people within our communities,” Sullivan said.