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Canfield girls get opportunity of a lifetime

July 3, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Three Canfield High School girls got the chance of a lifetime serving as a delegate to Buckeye Girls State (BGS) last month. Julia Petrallo, Mariah Cashbaugh, and Isabella Audia were selected by Canfield American Legion Post 177 Auxiliary for the honor.

"These gals actively work as self-governing citizens at the University of Mount Union for the week, which ran June 10 through 16," said Cathy Laine Gagliardi, Auxiliary president.

She the girls get together and form cities, townships, and have to run for and be elected to position in the federal, state, and local governments.

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Attending this year’s Buckeye Girls State program at Mount Union College in Alliance, from June 10 through June 16 were Canfield High School students Julia Petrallo, Mariah Cashbaugh, and Isabella Audia.

CHS student Julia Petrallo said she thought the opportunity would be a good way to meet people and learn more about government. At BGS, she ended up heading the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

"Besides an amazing group of new friends, I learned an incredible amount about government," Petrallo said. "It's one thing to learn about it in the classroom, but physically going through the motion completely solidifies and enhances everything you've learned."

She said the event helped broaden her view of not only government but life and the treatment of others. "It has helped me learn the value and ideas that each individual has to offer to the world," she said.

While she is currently undecided for her career path after graduation, she did say being part of the program has given her a whole new circle of friends.

"We have group messages and Snapchats with everyone from our city (52 girls) and a few of us are planning times we can all get together," Petrallo said.

Another Canfield student was Isabella Audia who thought it would be neat to learn more about government while living in a college setting.

"I ended up as a member of the House of Representatives," she said. "It was a really interesting experience. I honestly didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I got to work with many smart young women with great ideas. I even got to write my own bill and help others with their bills."

"This experience has definitely provided me with a new appreciation for government and it has also given me more confidence when it comes to meeting new people and making new friends," Audia continued. "I feel like Buckeye Girls State has also helped me practice public speaking. While there I gave two short, on-the-spot speeches. I also sang a solo at one of our formal events in front of the whole camp. While I will always cherish the memories I made at BGS, performing for 900 people is definitely a moment I will never forget."

While currently undecided about a college major or profession, Audia is considering business management and mechanical engineering. Like all the others, Audia too keeps in touch with her new group of friends.

"Yes, I am keeping in touch with my new friends from BGS," she said "We have a group chat that we text in and I follow the majority of them on Snapchat. I enjoy seeing what they're up to, even though many of them live far away."

Canfield also sent Mariah Cashbaugh, who was unavailable for comment.

The three Canfield delegates were joined by five Austintown Fitch delegates who were also sponsored by Post 17 Auxiliary.

"The reason for the number of Austintown girls is that we planned to send nine excellent Canfield delegates, who were interviewed, selected and committed to attend BGS," said Gagliardi. "But as the time drew nearer, six contacted us at varied times with not being able to attend: one made the National Speech competition which was held near the same time; one had a death in the family and had to go out of state; and the remainder had family commitments arise. Each Auxiliary Unit must purchase the applications for the Delegates in advance. Instead of limiting the number of Canfield Delegates, we elected to send them all and thus had no Canfield alternates to make up the difference when they could not attend. The applications were already purchased, so contact was then made with an Austintown Fitch H.S. guidance counselor. We learned there were gals who really wanted to attend BGS, but needed a sponsor. We interviewed each of the girls who presented with excellent qualifications, so we decided to share this opportunity, and it turned out to be quite a success."

Attending as Canfield Post 177 delegates from Austintown Fitch were Elise Yantes, Taylor Baer, Faith Marscio, Kaitlyn Sciortino, and Lauren Akuszewski.



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