WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) —A Hirschi High School senior is home from her trip to Washington D.C. following a week-long leadership conference representing the Lone Star State.
Sonya Ganeshram was the only person from this area to be selected to attend the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation.
More than 7,000 young women have participated in ALA Girls Nation since it was founded in 1947, but officials with the local American Legion said no one from this area has ever been selected to go until now.
Ganeshram is hoping to share the knowledge she attained with her peers in Wichita Falls.
“We can’t move forward together unless we learn to accept our differences and understand the importance of compromise,” Ganeshram said.
Ganeshram was selected out of more than 600 young ladies in Texas at the ALA Girls State to attend this leadership conference in D.C. that teaches attendees the fundamentals of U.S. Government.
“I didn’t expect it at all, I didn’t think that I was going to go to Girls Nation especially with how many girls there were,” Ganeshram said.
“We have sent from our unit 17 young ladies to Girls State throughout the last 20 years and without a doubt, Sonya outshined all of them,” Girls State chairman Jeannine Donaldson said.
While in D.C., Ganeshram visited Capitol Hill and met senators and representatives where she discussed local issues and shared bills she wrote.
Her instructor, who first got her interested in this program, said he could not be prouder.
“Those things are gonna help her develop a passion more than anything to serve her country,” Hirschi High School JROTC Senior Army Instructor Jim Faurie said.
Ganeshram, who is considering applying for the Air Force Academy, said she hopes to empower teens to become more politically aware and let their voices be heard.
“We don’t often talk to our young people about the importance of voting so I wanna bring that back to the community,” Ganeshram said.
Ganeshram has plans of creating a voting drive as well as a civil responsibility day to educate her peers about the importance of voting.