Lincoln Academy’s 2023 representatives to Dirigo State are (from left) Dana Lee, Violet Bailey, and Kayla Cruz.

This summer three Lincoln Academy students will participate in Dirigo State, a leadership and civic education sponsored by the Wells-Hussey American Legion and Auxiliary.

Dirigo State, which used to be two separate programs known as Boys State and Girls State, is a “comprehensive, experiential learning, youth leadership program,” according to the American Legion website. “It is designed after the Maine State government, where all students come together to create their own town, county, and state governing bodies.” At the program students run government simulations complete with elections, hearings, and votes on legislation.

Last year LA seniors Liam Card and Isobel Petersen represented LA at Dirigo State. “Dirigo gave me a chance to get some real world experience with the local and state systems of government,” said Card. “It was also a wonderful way to meet new kids that I wouldn’t have a chance to meet otherwise.”

This year’s program will take place June 18-22 at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. This year’s LA representatives were selected through an application process that looked for qualities of leadership and interest in government and policy. Selected as 2023 Dirigo representatives are LA juniors Dana Lee, Violet Bailey, and Kayla Cruz.

Dana Lee is a leader in LA’s junior class who has recently been elected as her senior class president, She also participates in Sigma Sigma Chi and LA’s championship math team.

Violet Bailey has served in LA student government since ninth grade. She is also a member of Sigma Sigma Chi and Sources of Strength, as well as the LA track and cross country teams.

Kayla Cruz is active in Sigma Sigma Chi as well as the LA music and theater programs, where she is an all-district and all-state vocalist in the Lincolnaires.

Both Violet and Kayla are members of Lincoln Academy’s chapter of the Olympia Snowe Leadership Institute.

“I am so excited for Violet, Kayla, and Dana! These three are terrific representatives of the Lincoln Academy’s spirit and leadership, and will greatly contribute to Dirigo. The opportunity that the American Legion and Auxiliary are giving these girls through their sponsorship is amazing. They will learn about leadership, they will learn about government at the local, state, and national levels, and ultimately they will meet other young, enthusiastic peers from around the state of Maine. It’s a wonderful program and Lincoln Academy is grateful for this sponsorship.”

“Dirigo taught me to advocate for myself in a setting that felt unique in its pace and passion,” Isobel Petersen said of her 2022 experience. “I’ve seen the friends I’ve met at Dirigo at math meets, choir festivals, cross country meets, and tennis matches. The community I found there extended through the boundaries of politics, gender, interests, and geographic location, and I am so grateful for that experience. I am really happy for Violet, Kayla, and Dana.”