Katy Boggs had good experience at Girls State

Craig Armstrong
Katie Boggs performs at the talent show during the annual Girls State program at Eastern Illinois University.

Patriotism and civic involvement aren’t words that we normally associate with teenagers.

Words like I-Pod, texting and Facebook come to mind more frequenty.

But thanks to the American Legion Eureka Post No. 466, a local high school student can now add patriot and even lieutenant governor to the list of words that describe her.

While she admits she does use Facebook, Eureka High School incoming senior Katy Boggs is far from your typical teenage girl.

Boggs, the daughter of Brian and Judy Boggs, is involved in academics, music and sports.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, the Science Club and the Worldwide Youth Science and Engineering Organization. She also performs as drum major for the Eureka Hornets Marching Band and plays flute and piccolo in three other school bands. She also plays basketball, softball and golf, and this year she plans to give cross country running a try.

Her interest in current world events and her high level of social involvement are some of the reasons she was chosen by her local American Legion Post to attend Girls State, a program that has provided hands-on citizenship training for high school juniors for more than 70 years.

Girls State takes place at Eastern Illinois University. For one week, young women from throughout Illinois learn about patriotism, civic involvement, responsibility and flag etiquette.

The real fun starts when the girls are divided up into cities and counties and the politicking begins.

Boggs said, “the interaction with my city,” was her favorite part of the process. She participated and campaigned at the city, county and state level. The highest office she achieved was being elected lieutenant governor.

Another project that the participants worked on was writing a bill and lobbying to get it passed into law.

Boggs, who lost a friend  in a car accident (the friend was ejected from the vehicle), proposed a bill that would institute smart seat belt technology.

The bill would require vehicles to be equipped with a system that would prohibit a driver from driving unless he or she was wearing a seat belt.

Unfortunately, the bill was not chosen to move forward in the process, but that didn’t stop her.

She said she plans to contact Sen. Dick Durbin and other legislators for help in getting her bill passed.

“I’m thankful that my local American Legion post gave me the opportunity,” Boggs said.

She also said she is grateful for all the young women she met and the new friends she made.

The support that she got from the program organizers and participants gave this teenager a glimpse into what is possible with the right people on your side, and, yes she was able to add a bunch of new “friends” to her Facebook page.