By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
The quilt pattern is known as the “Tennesse Waltz,” but for a handful of sophomore girls, the work of quilters Georgia Johnson and Ronnie Badget will provide a unique opportunity to represent their hometown at the Girl State 2018 event – sponsored by the American Legion (Auxiliary), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and organized under the Cedar City “umbrella” Coalition.
“All raffle ticket sales will be used to provide scholarships for the girls who are selected to participate in the (national) event,” says Johnson, a veteran and member of American Legion Post 74; (VFW) and coordinator-volunteer with the Iron County Coalition.
The goal, says Johnson, is to advance leadership skills among young women, and to provide opportunity for them to learn more about our system of government while encouraging civic pride and patriotism. The “Tennessee Waltz” quilt, known as the 54/40, stands for the latitude/longitude of the State of Oregon and is an emblem of American “esprit de corp.”
Johnson, instructor-professor at the American Language Cultural Center (SUU) is a long time educator and resident of Clark County, Nevada but was born and raised in Cedar City. She is also an ardent quilter, community advocate and active volunteer in supporting local veteran organizations and projects. It has been her professional mission to promote the educational advancement of young women for decades.
“In 2016, more than 360 Girl State students were part of this event,” says Johnson, and eight of those were from Iron County. In that same year, the (national) Girl State Event awarded $ 9.7 million in educational scholarships.
This year, its Johnson’s mission to run the local campaign, oversee the selection Girl State selection process and coordinate the raffle-fundraiser to benefit up to 10 sophomore girls in 2018.
“We will display this special quilt at several locations with the official (name) drawing to follow the Veterans Flag Observance at Veteran’s Park Nov., 10 at 9 a.m.,” she said. The winner of the quilt will also receive guest tickets and invitation to the SUU, Student Veterans of the American Chapter (SVA) Banquet to be held 5:30 p.m., Nov. 10, in the Great Hall on the SUU campus.
“Our goal this year is to raise $ 3,000 in raffle-ticket sales,” says Johnson of the fundraiser. “I so wanted to be part of the Girl State campaign and to see this happen for our sophomore girls and the Cedar City Coalition campaign.”
Johnson is hopeful about the community response and with the local businesses, and schools who will display the Tennessee Quilt this fall throughout Iron County. “It’s important that we support and raise-up these young women for expanded leadership roles –to see them succeed in their educational goals.”
The community is invited to view the Tennessee Quilt at Cedar High School (through Oct. 20); at Hurst Hardwar (ACE) Oct. 21 to Oct. 28; Stitching It Up (Oct. 30 to Nov. 4); and at Canyon View High School (Nov. 6 to Nov. 9). SUU will also display the quilt in the Great Hall the morning of Nov. 10 and will be the site of the official presentation.
Johnson fondly remembers the moment when hundreds of Girl State contenders stood and saluted her ongoing work and dedication in generating community interest and scholarship funds for the Girl State campaign. “We want to see the brightest, the beautiful and the brilliant from Iron County, as they are the very best we have.”
Raffle tickets can be purchased at the businesses listed. All quilt raffle proceeds go to Girls State educational scholarships. For information on the SVA Banquet (fundraiser) to be held Nov. 10, call SUU. For information on the Tennessee Quilt, to donate, or to purchase a raffle ticket ($ 2 each, or 6 tickets for $ 10) call 702-335-3412.
Photo Caption: Georgia Johnson, SUU instructor-professor and Darren Duncan, State Bank of Southern Utah and Commander American Legion Post # 74 have joined hands (under the Cedar City Coalition) to support the Girl State campaign and Tennessee Quilt raffle-fundraiser. Photo by J. Aerts