Tuesday, April 29, 2009 • Chelsey Chapin to represent Westwood High at Girls State

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, April 29, 2009, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Chelsey Chapin, a junior at Westwood High, is not one to let opportunities pass. That’s one reason why she interviewed to represent her school at American Legion Auxiliary Girls State this summer.

She views such activities as a way to grow, overcoming insecurities, learning how to interact with a diverse group of people and seeing more of the world outside the small town of Westwood where she lives.

“I decided to interview for Girls State because I am shy and when you go there you meet a lot of different people and that gives you more confidence. Also I get to learn more about our government and that is really important,” said Chapin.

Participants at Girls State take part in a mock government learning about elections, caucuses, conventions, the operation of the courts, legislative assemblies, administration of law enforcement and public welfare. The object is to learn by doing.

Candidates for this educational program on government must have completed their junior year of high school before attending the conference and have at least one semester to complete before graduation. Also they must have “outstanding qualities of leadership, character, scholarship, loyalty and service to school and community.”

Chapin is very interested in the welfare of others. She belongs to S Club at Westwood High because it serves people in the community. During the holiday season members collect canned goods to distribute at Thanksgiving and Christmas to those who are in need. She also belongs to the Westwood High PTSA that supports school activities.

As a member of Calvary Chapel Westwood M.A.D. [Making a Difference] Ministries she participates each year in the World Vision 30 Hour Famine.

“We raise money for people around the world who don’t have food and I think that is important,” said Chapin.

Not surprisingly her career choice also focuses on helping others. She said she wants to be a primary grade teacher because nothing makes her happier than working with a young child on a concept until they finally understand.

It is a profession she has tested through extracurricular activities. Sometimes she will help her mother, Robin, at JackPAC the after school program for students at Fletcher Walker Elementary that is run by the Westwood Family Resource Center. She has volunteered at the Westwood State Preschool and when her sister, Sarah, was younger she would help out in her classroom. If she has a prep period next year she would like to work as a teaching assistant in one of the classrooms at the local elementary school.

She enjoys playing sports as well and is currently on the Westwood High Girls Softball team. Her favorite team sport is volleyball.

“I like to stay active. I am the kind of person who is always on the go, I don’t like downtime,” explained Chapin.

Chapin learned about Girls State when Kiele Wallace, last year’s Westwood High representative, talked to the junior class about her experience. Three juniors interviewed for the position.

The experience will be beneficial Chapin’s senior year because she is required to take a government class. She will also be given another opportunity to overcome her shyness by talking to the junior class about Girls State during her senior year. In the future, Chapin expects to use what she learns to make good choices when she votes. It will also look good on her college applications.

“I am looking forward to meeting new people. I was told I will not be shy at Girls State because you are always interacting and hanging out with people,” said Chapin.