A week of work, learning and friendship ended Friday for the attendees of Kansas Girls' State. Now they can get some sleep.
"The hardest part was staying awake," said Lawrence participant Sarah Graves. "There were a lot of late nights."
On Thursday, participants had their final full day of work. They spent much of the day doing what they had done all week -- discussing, debating and solving the various problems given to their mock city, county and state governments.
The American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored program teaches participants about government by allowing them to view and take part in its processes.
On Friday, the participants went to Topeka. In Topeka, they saw the places where government happens, including the state House and Senate chambers and the governor's office. In the House chamber, they held a mock joint legislative session. They also were addressed by Gov. Bill Graves.
The visit to Topeka brought home the principles of government they discussed all week, Sarah Graves, no relation to the governor, said.
"Visiting Topeka made it seem more real," she said.
After Topeka, the participants came back to Lawrence for a closing ceremony at KU's Lied Center. Girls' State supervisors presented awards to various participants and groups, and the Kansas representatives to next month's Girls' Nation in Washington, D.C., were announced. Then, with a good number of hugs and no shortage of laughing and yelling, the delegates to the 57th session of Kansas Girls' State were dismissed.
-- Erik Petersen's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is email@example.com.