Pilgrim students heads to DC, could meet Trump

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Entering her senior year at Pilgrim High School, Sophie Carter has been called a mature self-starter and one of the standouts at the school.

Later this month she may meet President Trump.

Carter is going into her fourth term as class president, is the editor if the school newspaper, attends model legislature, runs cross-country and participates in track and field. She does all this while maintaining a part-time job at Showcase Cinemas in Warwick.

Carter attended American Legion Auxiliary’s (ALA) Girls State, a non-partisan program that teaches young women responsible leadership, legislature and government, from June 18 to June 23, at St. Andrews School in Barrington. It was an experience that will bring her to Washington and the scheduled meeting with President Trump.

At the state program, Carter was selected to represent the state at Girls Nation as a “senator” from July 22 to July 29 in Washington, D.C. This is only the second time a student from Pilgrim has been selected at the National level.

It’s an “immersive experience,” she said.

A pillar of ALA Girls Nation program involves mock senate and debating bills. There she aims to get her bill of mandatory reporting of sexual assault on college campuses passed through their legislature, which can then be presented to her state senator counterparts for feedback and advice when they visit Capitol Hill. The senators listen to special guest speakers and visit Arlington National Cemetery, the White House and memorials in the D.C. area.

A highlight of the trip is the opportunity to meet with President Trump. If she gets to talk with Trump, she said she’s not sure what she would ask him.

When asked about how excited she was about the experience she said, “It’s the best and brightest political minds in the country. It takes you out of your comfort zone, but you have a sisterhood in the end.”

Carter said her love of history and government started the summer between eighth and ninth grade, and that passion followed her to New Orleans last year to do an internship with the National World War II Museum. There she was in charge of getting in contact with veterans and documenting interviews with them. These interviews are currently being edited and will be available to view on the museum’s website.

Alan Palazzo, a teacher at Pilgrim, had Carter in his civics and government class last year. He said, “She is the type of student that most teachers wish were in the majority. Her inquisitive nature, unbounded enthusiasm and love of learning make her a perfect role model and her active involvement in class discussions served as the standard for others to emulate in my civics class, especially in the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election.”

Willing to learn everything she can, Carter attended both Hillary Clinton and John Kasich’s rallies when they visited Rhode Island prior to the presidential primary last year. She listed Virginia Hall, First Lady Abigail Adams, Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt as people she looks up to. After graduating from Pilgrim, Sophie wants to attend the University of Maryland to major in government and political science and minor in criminology.

When asked if she had a message for other women aspiring to get into the field of politics or law, she said she wants women to “stand in solidarity.” She shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

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