By Addy Nelson, Sacajawea Scroll
Girls State delegates entered Aalfs Auditorium Slagle Hall nervous but excited Monday night, anticipating the coming days.
Emily Firman Pieper was one speaker that night with advice.
In her speech, the 1994 Girls State governor compared two songs: “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson and “This Is Me” from the movie “The Greatest Showman.” These two songs highly contrast in content.
“Breakaway” paints a picture about leaving home to reach a goal. “Dreaming of what could be and if I’d end up happy…” sang Kelly Clarkson in her song. Firman Pieper highly disagreed with this statement.
“You don’t have to feel that being from a small town is a trap,” Firman Pieper said Monday night. She encouraged delegates to believe they can always contribute and make a difference in their town or state.
Firman Pieper also spoke about using gifts and talents. She encouraged everyone to find their gifts and use them in their community.
Firman Pieper said age is never a problem and that delegates can get involved anywhere.
Alternatively, “This Is Me” plays with the idea that people make the best of who they are and don’t have to change themselves for others. “I am brave, I am bruised, I am who I’m meant to be, this is me…” is stated in “The Greatest Showman.”
These words embody what Firman Pieper spoke about — having an impact.
“When you think about what you are capable of doing, you need to know you already have it inside you,” Firman Pieper said.
Firman Pieper also said Girls State “demystifies the process of government.”
She encouraged those running for office to meet as many people as possible, even if they don’t get appointed to the office. The relationships made at Girls State will often last a long time, she said.
“I like what she did with the song,” said delegate Kailen Krause.
Giving off contagious energy, Firman Pieper gave comfort to those still uneasy about what happens at Girls State. She joked that youth are not incubating leaders but that they are ready to lead now.
Her advice resonated with several delegates, creating a sense of purpose and meaning to prepare for the week ahead.
“How relatable it is coming from a small town, then you’re ready to leave the small area when you don’t really think about making a change,” said delegate Grace Campbell.