Southern Miss hosts 61st annual Magnolia Girls State

The 61st annual Magnolia Girls State is taking place at the University of Southern Mississippi through Thursday.

The program gives hundreds of high school girls the chance to learn about the political process and the functions of local and state government. About three hundred girls from across the state are taking part in this week's activities, which include mock political conventions, and elections in the fictitious state of "Magnolia."

"I was very honored to be able to be at Girls State," said Virginia Carlton, who is a judge in the Mississippi Court of Appeals. "I was a participant when I was in high school. I try to motivate and encourage them and excite them for government service and to prepare themselves morally as well as educationally to be able to give back."