Houston High School junior Ashlynn Burns stands with American Legion Post 41 representative Ron Jones after receiving a $1,000 donation from West Plains Bank and Trust's Houston branch during a grand opening event last week. The funds will go toward Burns attending this year's Girls State program, which is sponsored by the American Legion. Credit: DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

Ashlynn Burns has been selected by Houston High School faculty, Houston’s American Legion Post 41 and members of the community to attend Girls State 2023.

This year’s event will be held June 24 – July 1 at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. Only a select few girls are selected to participate in the annual event that is sponsored by the Missouri Department American Legion Auxiliary and Post 41.

Burns is a junior at HHS and holds a cumulative high school GPA of 3.8. She serves as a representative on the student council, is a junior firefighter on the City of Houston Fire Department and placed first this year in the 4-H 3-D archery state championship competition. She was chosen by the school faculty last year to attend the Missouri Leadership Seminar in Warrensburg, and spent four days learning how to better serve her community and take leadership positions in the community.

Burns is a member of the Houston Scholar Bowl team and dances and sings with a small group that performs at various places in the community.

American Legion Girls State program is a one-week intensive education program of government instruction for high school students. It is a participatory program in which participants become a part of the operation of their local, county and state governments. At Girls State, Burns will be exposed
to the rights and privileges, duties and responsibilities of franchised citizens.

The training is objective and practical with city, county and state governments operated by the students elected to various offices. Activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, chorus and recreational programs. Mentoring of youth is one of the Four Pillars of the American Legion posts.

Burns and several other students in Texas County will be able to attend this year’s Boys and Girls State events thanks to donations by West Plains Bank and Trust’s Houston branch.

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