Carolyn Jean Forest elected “mayor” during Girls State

Published 6:00 am Thursday, July 6, 2023

Carolyn Jean Forest attended the 80th session of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Alabama Girls State program, June 4-9, at Troy University. During the session, Forest was elected mayor in the city council and awarded a scholarship. 

Students attending Girls State assume roles of government leaders, campaigning as “Federalists” and “Nationalists” to become county and state officials of their ALA Girls State. The girls also live in “cities” within the residence halls. 

This was the first Girls State the Lowndes Academy senior has attended. Forest plans to attend Troy University this fall, majoring in pharmaceutical marketing, and said she enjoyed the opportunity to learn leadership skills. 

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“When I first arrived at Girls state I was extremely nervous as I wasn’t quite sure how everything worked,” Forest said. “At Girls State I learned legislative skills, leadership skills, and how to campaign. We had many great speakers who left many lessons with us. One of the very first things you will do at Girls State is elect your city council members.”

Girls State attendees were separated into different cities before voting for council. 

“I had to stand up against a group of people who also wanted to run for mayor,” Forest said. “Instead of listing my accolades I expressed what I would do for my city and the people of that city. I’m extremely thrilled to be the mayor of the great city of Redstone. This leadership position has taught me how to lead, even when all you can do is to listen.”

Forest’s family has always been a loving support system. Her parents taught her to put her foundation and faith in Jesus Christ, which has helped Forest during trying times. 

“She’s always been a happy and loving child,” said her father Larry ‘Tadpole’ Forest. “She loves her classmates, her school, us, and especially her grandparents. Girls State was very good for her to participate in, and it’s something she will never forget. I’m very proud that she’s my daughter.”

Forest was awarded the $1,000 Trojan Leadership Scholarship on behalf of Troy University, and the Young Boozer III Award for Leadership and Service granted by Sonya Booth Davis in honor of her mother Young Boozer. 

Forest said she aspires to work in politics in the future to better the great state of Alabama. She admires Senator Katie Britt, who teaches that hardships in life will contribute to the greatest victories. 

Forest said Girls State has taught her how to be a better leader and a better citizen. 

“I am so thankful she had the opportunity of a lifetime, it was such a wonderful experience,” said her mother, Tiffany Forest. “The leaders stressed the importance of our love for God and being proud to be an American. Carolyn Jean made so many friendships that will last a lifetime. Her dad, myself, her grandmommy and poppy, Ashton Acerman, and Molly Powell were so proud when she won the leadership award. She has always been an extremely precious, christian, family loving young lady and we cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for her future. We love her so much and could not be more proud.”

Forest encourages her hometown Lowndes community to get involved in local politics to know what is happening in the county, city, and state. She advises future Girls State attendees and delegates to be open minded.

“If you think you’re not going to run for something, trust me, it will change,” said Forest. “Go with the process and take risks! You’ll never regret trying. Get ready to make lifelong friends and sisters. This experience will change your life.”