Last month two Raymond High School juniors, Hannah Dykes and Kaitlynn Hager attended Evergreen Girl’s State, an annual event hosted by Central Washington University in Ellensburg. The Auxiliary Post 150 of Raymond sponsored the ladies. The two came away with a fantastic learning experience and Dykes is now headed to D.C. for seven days and is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” Dykes told the Herald Sunday night. “ It’s never been a thought in my mind to meet the President. “I can’t wait to look into his eyes. He’s such a good man. It’s like, it’s nice to meet you and where’s Michelle (the First Lady), Dykes kidded with exuberance. “I still can’t believe the whole thing.
“I’m really excited to go back,” adding that she was a bit nervous about the whole affair. “Oh my gosh, yes, I was so intimidated about the whole thing,” Dykes recalled. “We were up against all of those students from the huge schools. The first day was so scary and intimidating. Some of those schools have Advance Placement Classes; we don’t even have that.’
At Girl’s State, the ladies run a mock state, party, county, and city government in which each girl runs for a political position. Each candidate goes through the full election process from giving speeches to packed auditoriums to campaigning to get their name on the ballots. Then, every city returns to their dorm to vote. Dykes aimed high and ran for U.S. Senator.
Dykes, along with approximately 230 scholastic-minded students from the Evergreen State attended Girls State last month. In a mock election between the Nationalists and Federalists where eight people survived, Dykes came out of the primary and general elections, along with Yang as the two winning candidates for a Senate seat.
After being one of only four girls to get endorsed by her party, Dykes went on to speak to all 200 girls attending the program. She gave a speech that would have effortlessly won over much harder crowds. She spoke of her desire to be a role model for other girls and how where you originate does not have control over where you go or end up. If all of this wasn’t enough, they went through “whistle stops”. They had to stop into rooms brimming with anxious girls and answer whatever questions were thrown at them. A few of the questions asked were about each candidates position on gun rights, gay marriage, and America’s involvement internationally. Dykes’ answers were clearly not lost on the crowds because when the general election ballots were printed, it was Dykes against three other very talented and admirable ladies.
“The girls I competed against encouraged me to be a better competitor,” Dykes said. “I knew that if I wanted this, it wasn’t going to come easily. They also made me a better politician in general. Each of them had so much to offer.”
In the end Dykes and Hannah Yang of Redmond High School deservedly won the two seats for U.S Senator. That honor alone is highly commendable, and now, Dykes and Yang will fly to Washington D.C. July 20th to attend an even bigger program known as Girl’s State. For seven days they will compete with and work with some of the most talented female minds in the nation. Each girl will also get to meet President Barack Obama.
“I’m so thrilled at the opportunity to represent my small town and big ideas in the nation’s capitol,” Dykes said.
Dykes said that she leaves for D.C. July 20th at 4 a.m. She’s staying at Chevy Chase. Once in D.C., Dykes will go on several tours to experience some of the greatest facets of American history, including the White House, of course, the Penitentiary, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Lincoln Memorial, lunch with wounded Veterans, and much, much more. In all, all 50 states will have its two winning candidates attend the national event. There, four names will be selected from a hat, so to speak, to present a wreath on the Unknown Soldier’s grave.
If Dykes’ speech at Girl’s State was any indication of her ability to represent Pacific County on a much larger scale, it’s easy to see that the county’s reputation is in very good hands.