LI Girl's Letter Leads To Gillibrand Speech

Adriana Rubertone was ecstatic when she learned early last month that she was selected to attend the American Legion’s Empire Girls State convention, a prestigious annual leadership program for young women that is being held this week at SUNY Brockport.

Then, Rubertone, 17, of Glen Head, an incoming senior at North Shore High School in Glen Head, asked organizers about the difference between Girls State and Boys State, a parallel program for boys. She learned that the boys program usually features a high-profile political guest speaker. U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican who represents areas upstate, spoke at the boys event on June 24 at Morrisville State College.

No keynote speaker was for set for the Girls State schedule. And Rubertone felt the boys program is generally presented as a more prestigious event. Irked, she immediately set out to correct what she felt was inequity between the two programs.

On June 8, she sent letters to three prominent women officials inviting them to speak at Girls State. She received two form letters turning her down. Then she got a call from the office of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. The senator, a top promoter of women’s rights in the Senate, accepted the invitation.

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