Less than one percent of high school juniors throughout California are selected for the nationally recognized conference

TEMPLETON—Five young women from the Templeton High School’s (THS) junior class have been nominated to go to this year’s weeklong Girls State Conference at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State Convention in July. 

There they will focus on learning, responsible citizenship, and leadership. First presented in 1937, the program is one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States. This year’s THS nominees are Tess Ryujin, Karen Clark, Elyse Black, Megan Rubin, and Heer Shinglot.

Girls State is a mock government program where American Legion Auxiliary members teach participants to become knowledgeable stewards of freedom, democracy, as well as being patriotic citizens. It is an honor to be nominated as less than one percent of high school juniors from schools throughout California are selected for this nationally recognized conference. 


These five nominees will compete with one another in a series of interviews, after which one will be chosen to represent the school and an alternate. Being nominated in itself speaks very highly of these Templeton High School juniors. All of them are great students, friends, and community members. They have demonstrated respect, kindness, integrity, and leadership.

Tess Ryujin is very involved with drama and publishes the school blog, News From the Nest. Among her many clubs and scholarly interests, she says, “I enjoy taking little road trips and going to downtown SLO with my friends or my boyfriend. I read a lot, I bake, I paint (watercolor is my favorite medium), I watch movies, and I love eating out.” 

In the future, Ryujin wants to go to a private college and major in English. As of now, Stanford is her dream school. She says, “I’m not sure what specific career I want to pursue, but I have the vague intention to become a novelist. I would like to have a career where I can write and travel.”

Karen Clark enjoys participating in a wide variety of activities, including several clubs and sports. She has also really enjoyed being part of the California Scholastic Federation, saying, “this service program has allowed me to explore new ways I can help the community, like volunteering to help direct and instruct the middle school band classes.”

When asked about her future plans, she said, “I am still figuring out what I want to study in the future. I’m currently deciding between majoring in geography, computer engineering, or music performance. I hope that whatever career path I choose, I will be able to make a difference in our world.”

Megan Rubin is involved in various academic and athletic programs on campus. She enjoys challenging herself with AP courses and Cuesta dual-enrolled classes. During lunch hours, Rubin participates in numerous clubs. Additionally, She is a varsity athlete on the tennis and soccer teams.

After high school, she plans on attending a four-year university in the state of California. She shared, “While I haven’t decided on a specific major, I would like to study environmental science, environmental engineering, or oceanography. I enjoy math and science, and I like to write as well.”

Elyse Black has participated and performed in many of the school dramas and musicals. She was invited to go to Edinburgh, Scotland, with THS Drama to perform “The Addams Family” in the Fringe Festival. Performing internationally, she said, “was so much fun, and I enjoyed how we had to adapt in order to prepare our play for different stages.” Elyse also plays the piano in the Jazz Band.

When asked about her future she shared, “I am very optimistic about the future and hope to study subjects where my strengths lie. I hope to double major in music and linguistics and I definitely want to study abroad during college. Right now, my number one is USC, specifically the Thornton School of Music. I have also enjoyed touring colleges on the East Coast and really like Tufts, Columbia, and Vanderbilt.”

Heer Shinglot stays busy on and off campus. She currently serves as the president of CSF, the chairperson of public relations for NAHS, and is a part of Feminist Club, Environment Club, Friday Night Live, and Queer Straight Alliance club! She also serves as the student representative on the Templeton Unified School District Board of Trustees.

In the future, Heer hopes to attend a big city university such as UCLA or Johns Hopkins University and plans to pursue neuroscience, but that, she said, “is subject to change!” She says the medical field ultimately is where she sees herself.

The girls will be interviewed on Wednesday, Feb. 2, and in a few weeks, will know who will be representing THS at Girls State 2022. Boys State nominations will be taking place also in the coming weeks.