Presbyterian College hosted the American Legion Auxiliary’s 69th Palmetto Girls State from June 7-13. Since 1947, Palmetto Girls state has brought the best and brightest high school students from across the state together to test their leadership skills, aptitude for communication, and scholastic abilities.
During the week-long program, rising high school seniors, or “delegates,” as they were referred to during the program were given the opportunity to delve into governmental procedures, from political campaigns through elections. Delegates were divided into different “cities” and worked together to create their own systems of government and strategic party agendas. Ultimately, each city elected a Senate, House of Representatives, and state constitutional officers for the mythical state of “Palmetto.”
The program was created to educate high school students about local and state government, and principles of citizenship and public service. In addition to participating in the mock campaigns and elections, the students heard from guest speakers and expert panels. Clinton Mayor Bob McLean `76 spoke at the opening ceremony. Additional speakers during the week included Representative Russell L. Ott, District 93; Representative Phyllis J. Henderson, District 21; S.C. State Superintendent of Education Molly Mitchell Spearman; and Senator Katrina F. Shealy, District 23.
More than 600 students attended the week-long program, including Rena Haley, the daughter of S.C. Governor Nikki Haley. During the students’ stay they slept in PC’s residence facilities, ate in PC’s dining hall, and made use of our classrooms, computer labs, Harper Theatre, Templeton Gym, and Wyatt Chapel. They used Belk Auditorium to hold the mock elections.
In addition to Palmetto Girls State, the College will host nearly 20 programs this summer, including sports camps, summer session, international programs, orientation, and more.
The College hosted ninth- and 10th-grade students in the CHAMPS program (Communities, Helping, Assisting, and Motivating Promising Students) during the week of June 22 and will host seventh- and eighth-grade students the week of June 29. CHAMPS is a college and community partnership designed to provide promising middle school and high school students with a vision of their future and to encourage them to strive toward post-secondary education.
The SC Chamber of Commerce Business Week will be taking place on campus July 26-31. Similar to Palmetto State in that high school students learn about the principles of leadership, the program is also intended to teach students teamwork, the principles of the free enterprise system, and promote individual responsibility and entrepreneurship.
During the program sophomore, junior, and senior high school students will develop mock companies, led by advisers from the state’s most successful businesses.
Ted Pitts, president and chief executive officer of the SC Chamber of Commerce, is a 1994 PC alumnus.
For more information on PC summer programs contact Drew Peterson, associate dean of students/director of residence life, at 864-833-8486.