The American Legion Post 25 held a banquet recently to honor the students selected to participate in Buckeye Boys and Girls State that were unfortunately unable to go due to COVID-19 concerns that cancelled the event.
The dinner was held in the party room with parents and students being invited to join for a meal with various American Legion Post 25 members. During the meal, local historian and retired Washington Court House City Schools teacher Paul LaRue made connections between the situation with COVID-19 this year and the Spanish Flu from the early 1900s. He explained that one of the largest outbreaks in the country was very near Washington Court House in Chillicothe, and that Fayette County was also heavily touched by the outbreak, which resulted in many wearing masks and practicing social distancing over 100 years ago.
During the event, three girls from Miami Trace High School — who had been named the Fayette County representatives to Buckeye Girls State — were also honored. Though the original plan was to select seven girls, interviews were cut short due to COVID-19 closing down the American Legion when the process was underway. Despite this, three girls were able to make it through interviews and were selected: Hailee Schirm, Siara Eggleton and Kaylie Lott.
Schirm, now a senior at Miami Trace High School, is the daughter of Eric Schirm and Ginger Munro. Schirm said a few of the activities she has been involved in are Key Club, French Club, and Varsity Girls Soccer.
“I was recently inducted into National Honor Society and have been in the Top 10 of my class for the past three years,” Schirm said in her bio. “After High School graduation, I plan to pursue a BS in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences. Once completed, I will enroll in a Master’s program in Communication Sciences and Disorders to prepare for a future in Speech-Language Pathology. It was a great honor to be selected for Buckeye Girls State to represent my school and community. I am thankful to the American Legion for still honoring the fellow nominees and I at the banquet.”
Eggleton is also a senior at Miami Trace and is the daughter of Kristy Robinson-Eggleton and Bruce Eggleton. She has been involved in Drama Club, Spanish Club, Varsity Girls Soccer and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“I hope to attend the University of Chicago and major in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations,” Eggleton said. “I am incredibly honored to have been selected for the opportunity to attend Buckeye Girls State and it was something that I was really looking forward to. Although the girls no longer have that opportunity, I’d like to thank the American Legion for hosting the banquet for the delegates.”
Finally, Lott — also a senior at Miami Trace — is the daughter of Mike Lott and Kimberly Havens-Lott. Lott has been involved in various clubs including the Key Club and French Club, and plays varsity girls soccer. She said she hopes to attend Ohio University and receive her doctorate in optometry.
“I am honored to be selected for the opportunity of attending Buckeye Girls State,” Lott said. “I want to thank the American Legion for trying their best to make good out of a bad situation and for putting on the honorary banquet!”
Buckeye Boys and Girls State are two different week-long programs where students gain experience in building governments from local to state level. The girls assume the roles of leaders, campaign for offices and hold mock elections. Participants experience the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of a franchised citizen. The training is objective and practical with a city, county and state government operated by the student elected to the various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law enforcement presentations, assemblies, a band, and recreation; all are high school juniors, selected by local American Legion Post.
As previously reported, 23 young men from Fayette County were selected to attend Buckeye Boys State before it was also canceled. Those students were also in attendance for the banquet.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.