Warwick. Olivia Holland, Kiera Ferrier attend N.Y. Girls State training

| 29 Aug 2023 | 05:50

For the first time in recent history, two Warwick Valley High School students attended the prestigious American Legion Girls State leadership program.

Olivia Holland and Kiera Ferrier were selected as delegates from seven finalists to represent Warwick’s Nicholas P. Lesando Jr., American Legion Post 214 at the intensive week-long government training sessions.

Approximately 250 delegates from throughout New York State participated in this year’s Girls State, held the first week of July at SUNY-Brockport.

Delegates built their own government from the grown up, from local to state levels. They formed their own political parties, developed platforms and proposed legislation, worked on campaigns for office while learning and developing their knowledge of governmental procedures.

American Legion Post 214 has sent delegates to Boys State for decades. Legion Auxiliaries traditionally handle local Girls State recruitment for the state program. Warwick has not had an auxiliary for many years, so there were no Girl Staters from the community.

That changed after Rosanne Eckert asked her husband, Mike Eckert, chair of Post 214’s Boys State Committee, why Warwick didn’t have representation at Girls State.

Rosanne, a retired teacher, commented that “attending Girls State was one of her most rewarding and memorable experiences during high school.”

Her husband made numerous contacts with county and state Legion and Auxiliary officials before receiving permission to send two delegates to Girls State.

A $1,000 donation to Post 214 from the Warwick Valley Rotary Club financed the leadership training for Olivia Holland and Kiera Ferrier.

Eckert said he is striving to gain permission to send additional local representatives to Girls State next year.