Girls State Nominations

Five female students were nominated by Oakmont Staff for a political leadership program for demonstrating outstanding skills.


Ashley Raigosa, Sophia Leddy, Kaitlyn Edwards, Ella Pock, and Jolie Anderson

Ashley Raigosa (top left), Sophia Leddy (top right), Kaitlyn Edwards (bottom left), Ella Pock (bottom middle), and Jolie Anderson (bottom right) have all been nominated for American Legion Auxiliary’s Girls State.

Sophia Earnest, Staff Writer

On December 14, five female junior students were nominated by Oakmont staff for Girls State. 

The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Girls State is a program that recognizes young female leaders in their junior year to then create a mock government, while learning about political processes. 

This year, Oakmont staff members nominated five of our very own Vikings to be a part of the spectacular program. 

Ella Pock, one of the nominees, is an avid volleyball player with ambitious goals as she started her own baking business, “Sprinkle Box Treats”, during quarantine. Pock was very honored and proud to have been nominated for the program, seeing it as a great opportunity to learn and grow. 

It just means that I have been working hard and exemplified all the right traits of a hard working student,” Pock said. 

Kaitlyn Edwards, a varsity cheerleader, is an editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, Norse Notes, on top of her frequent volunteering. Edwards is elated for the opportunity as she wants to expand her knowledge on the American government, although she was quite surprised to have been nominated. 

“Knowing that my teachers and other Oakmont staff members believe in me truly means so much to me,” Edwards said. “Being nominated with such amazing girls with varying accomplishments makes me really proud of myself and all the hard work that I have put in during my time at Oakmont.”

Ashley Raigosa is very involved in her community as she follows her passions in computer science. Pursuing supporting minorities in the computer science field, she is a technical writer and presenter for multiple science programs focused on women in the field and even conducts her own projects. 

Raigosa, also being the co-president of Oakmont’s Coding Club, is very excited to have been nominated for Girls State, as she sees it as the next opportunity in her career to continue supporting women and further her knowledge on how to work as a well functioning team. 

I believe supporting other women and fighting the stigma associated with male dominated professions is something I heavily value and believe this opportunity would allow for me to engage more heavily with my community,” Raigosa said.

Jolie Anderson, a black belt in MMA, is a defense lawyer for Oakmont’s Mock Trial team, on top of being the junior class vice president and her active volunteer work. Anderson has always been intrigued by the government, and sees Girls State as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“An opportunity to learn about how the government works in the most hands-on way possible,” Anderson states. “I love how the program is centered around female empowerment and inspiring young girls to be active citizens.”

Sophia Leddy is quite involved in local activism, having had an internship for a congressional candidate this summer, and having a Political Discussion Club at Oakmont. Leddy is quite eager as she sees the nomination as a chance to further her passions in politics and social justice.

I want to pursue a degree in political science, attend law school, run for Congress some day, and this is the perfect environment to learn more about what that would look like for me,” Leddy said.

When the nominations were announced, the girls were quite surprised as they were unaware they were even being considered, with there being no application process. 

The ALA works with high school educators to nominate candidates who are “keenly interested in government and current events, and show strong leadership abilities,” says the ALA. 

“We were nominated by Oakmont faculty based on our attitude, citizenship, involvement, and character,” Edwards said.

Although all the girls received this nomination, with defining characteristics of a leader, only some view themselves as one, Raigosa for example.

Within my projects, while I tend to take on some of the major program development roles in computer science projects, I always push to work with my teammates as effectively as possible,” Raigosa said. “I view myself as a leader dedicated to forming relationships and working for the best of my team.”

Leddy on the other hand, doesn’t know if she views herself as a leader, saying she’s unsure if she can make that judgement. 

As a sixteen-year-old, it’s really difficult to feel like I have any sort of power, political or otherwise,” Leddy said. “I do try to make the right decisions and motivate others to do the same, but I can’t really say if I’m a leader.”

Regardless if the nominees view themselves as a leader or not, they are clearly doing something right, having been nominated for such a prestigious program. The real question is what the next step is.

“The next step is to create a portfolio that will be reviewed by the American Legion Auxiliary and that is how they will choose which girl will become Oakmont’s delegate,” Anderson said. 

Although the decision is typically made through an interview, the program opted for an essay as everything is online due to COVID-19.

“The portfolio involves sending in a resume, four essay pages that will help them get to know us, and a headshot photo of ourselves,” Anderson said.

The program may take a different approach this year as everything is online, but nonetheless all of the nominees are quite honored of the deserving nomination and the wonderful opportunity that lies ahead.

Good luck Vikings!