An Ennis High School senior who recently represented her school at the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State government-in-action learning program got another opportunity to test her leadership skills at the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court, Tuesday.

The court welcomed Lanie Spence as a special guest before she opened the session with the invocation and led the pledge of allegiance.

“Our loving heavenly father, we would like to come before you and thank you for being a gracious, all-knowing God, and for willingly dying on the cross for all of our sins…” Spence prayed. “We thank you for allowing us to be born in this great nation where we have the freedom of choice. We acknowledge how fortunate we are to live in a country where we are free to choose our beliefs, our religion, how we vote and how we live our lives. We pray that you will protect those who defend our freedom and that you will give us the wisdom to make the right choices…”

Pct. 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson reportedly extended the invitation to Spence after learning about her interest in governmental affairs.

“It was a great honor to have Lanie participate in our Commissioners’ Court today. I was so excited to learn of her selection to Girls State,” said Grayson in a Tuesday press release. “She shared with me her excitement to learn and understand how important it is to actively participate in local government. The future certainly looks bright in the hands of young people like Lanie Spence.”

The ALA Girls State program was developed over five decades ago to shape young girls into future leaders “through a nonpartisan curriculum where students assume the roles of government leaders, campaigning in mock parties to become mayors and county and state officials of their ALA Girls State. The program is a weeklong immersive learning experience, often held on a college campus where girls live in cities’ within a dormitory-like setting,” according to the ALA organization at alaforveterans.org.

The organization estimates that about 16,000 girls participate in ALA Girls State programs across the nation every summer.

“I met a lot of people that did not have the same beliefs or backgrounds as me,” said Spence, referring to her experience at Girls State, according to the press release. “Since my father works for Ellis County Pct. 2, I have always been interested in government and the impacts it has on my life.”

Spence’s dad, Chad, an assistant foreman, and mom, Debbie, who works with the Ennis Independent School District, were also in attendance at the Commissioners’ Court.