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Forsyth Central senior elected as Georgia Girls State senator
Will travel to D.C. in late July
Sydney Panetta

A rising senior at Forsyth Central High School will travel to Washington, D.C. in late July after recently being elected as a state senator for the group at an American Legion Auxiliary program.

Sydney Panetta, of Cumming, was elected by members of the Georgia Girls State as one of two state senators, which are the highest positions available in the state government election at the week-long event.

Girls State is a national simulation aimed at teaching and applying “the fundamental principles and procedures of city, county and state government under the American system,” according to its website.

Each session, which lasts five days, “is conducted by each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with the top-ranking high school girls as citizens.”

About 300 young women from across Georgia attended this year’s event, which was held at Georgia Southern University in early June, according to Susan Youdell, chairwoman of the Girls State committee for the American Legion Auxiliary Unit.

She said it has been about a decade since the Auxiliary has had a senator from Cumming.

During the session, all participants are eligible for the office of senator or any other state, county or city office, which includes mayor, city councilwoman, county commissioner, sheriff, governor, lieutenant governor, Supreme Court justices and others, Youdell said.

The week at Georgia Southern was spent electing officials in a process similar to the one real-world campaigns and candidates were required go through the petition process and receive their party nomination at the party caucus.

Participants’ dorm rooms determined what “city” the women were citizens of.

The final eight candidates were required to complete a 15 minute interview with three Girls State head counselors, who ultimately made the final decision as to who would move on to Girls National in D.C.

Melody Wang, of Marietta, was elected as Georgia’s second senator.

The trip will include several mock Senate sessions and political party meetings in addition to tours of Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the National Mall, Capitol Hill and the White House.