Making plans and memories

Zaragoza elected Superintendent of Public Instruction at Girls State


Photo courtesy of Alicia Zaragoza

Zaragoza, right, poses with Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow at Girls State.

Alicia Zaragoza knew she wanted to be involved in education, but after Wyoming Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, she decided that a superintendent position is right for her.

At the local and city election, she was honored as an election judge, but when she got to the state election, Zaragoza was elected as superintendent of public instruction. Though this was a mock position, Zaragoza has gotten some perks out of the deal.

First, she got to meet Wyoming State Superintendent Jillian Balow. And since she was one of the top five elected officials in the state, Zaragoza will get to sit in with Wyoming Governor Matt Mead for a day and attend some meetings with him in July. "We get to fly around in his jet with him, around the state, so I'm pretty excited about that," said a grinning Zaragoza.

Though she doesn't know whether those meetings will be education based, it should be good experience for the career she hopes to pursue now-a more political position in education.

"My plans before going to Girls State were to become a principal and just get really involved with education because I think it's a really important thing that people should focus more on," Zaragoza elaborated. "After talking to the state superintendent, I'm going to focus more on not only one school, but I would love to be a superintendent or get involved at the state level and just bring ideas that people haven't normally thought of before."

A soon-to-be senior at Saratoga High School, Zaragoza plans to get a bachelor's in education and administration and a masters in education and political science. Her experience at Girls State has shaped her career goals so far, and since she made it so far in the elections there's a lot more left to come.

"I'm not really sure what the meetings (with the governor) or his ideas are about since we didn't get to talk to him one on one," said Zaragoza. "Since I'm one of five girls I hope to really get to know him or tell him more of my ideas, especially at these meetings, and tell him what I think."

Zaragoza had heard that past attendees at both boys and girls state were really impacted and had a great experience, so she decided to give it a shot. "I didn't really know what to expect when I got there, and I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great friends. I'm just really glad I went," Zaragoza said.

Zaragoza was selected as the alternate for the $1000 University of Wyoming scholarship offered by the program.


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