Kinlie Brennise, an East Elementary School fifth-grader, was chosen by Colorado Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, to participate in this year’s Girls With Goals Day in March at the state capitol. Kinlie’s teacher, Stacy Ponikvar, background, will accompany her on the trip.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Kinlie Brennise, an East Elementary School fifth-grader, was chosen by Colorado Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, to participate in this year’s Girls With Goals Day in March at the state capitol. Kinlie’s teacher, Stacy Ponikvar, background, will accompany her on the trip.

A view from the senate floor

East Elementary School student chosen to represent District 8 at Girls With Goals Day

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Colorado Sen. Jean White, left, R-Hayden, gives her card to Kinlie Brennise during her visit to Moffat County School District schools in October 2011 as superintendent Joe Petrone looks on. Kinlie helped give White a tour of the school and showed an interest in the political process, said White, who nominated Kinlie to participate in the second annual Girls With Goals Day.

Quotable

“It’s just a wonderful experience to have her see firsthand how the process works.”

— Colorado Sen. Jean White about nominating Kinlie Brennise, an East Elementary School fifth-grader, for the annual Girls With Goals Day event

At a Glance …

Kinlie Brennise, an East Elementary School fifth-grader, is preparing to attend the second Girls With Goals Day on March 5 at the state capitol.

Colorado Sen. Jean White, R-Hayden, nominated Kinlie to attend the event, which allows girls to shadow their senator for a day and propose mock bills.

Kinlie is the sole girl chosen from Senate District 8, which encompasses Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Eagle and Garfield counties.

Kinlie Brennise may not have known it at the time, but she left a lasting impression on Colorado Sen. Jean White.

Brennise helped guide the first-term senator through East Elementary School in October 2011 during White’s tour of Moffat County School District schools.

Brennise, a fifth-grader at East Elementary, seemed “very interested in the political process,” White said.

Now, White, R-Hayden, is returning the favor.

In March, she’ll be the one showing Kinlie around only this time they’ll be in the Colorado state capitol where the 10-year-old will get a taste of what life is like on the senate floor.

White nominated Kinlie to participate in the second Girls With Goals Day on March 5. The Senate Majority Outreach Office is hosting the event, which coincides with Women’s History Month.

“I think it’s interesting that she was my tour guide and now I get to be her tour guide,” White said.

A tour of the capitol, lunch with White and a mock legislative session are a few of the items on Kinlie’s itinerary for the day.

“(I’m) way excited,” Kinlie said. “I can’t wait.”

Seeing the nitty-gritty details of the legislative process may not seem like a 10-year-old’s favorite activity. Kinlie, though, is thrilled, she said, especially about getting the chance to draft and propose a mock bill.

The Senate Majority Outreach stipulates that Girls With Goals nominees must show outstanding traits in sportsmanship, academics or other realms.

Fifth-grade teacher Stacy Ponikvar believes Kinlie matches that description.

“I think that she’s definitely a role model in our class,” said Ponikvar, who will accompany Kinlie on the trip. “She has great leadership skills.

“She’s got a strong voice. She stands up for what she believes is right.”

Vicki Weber, a student teacher in Ponikvar’s classroom, agreed.

“Her work ethic and her attitude is just great,” she said. “She never gives up.”

Kinlie’s selection to Girls With Goals gives her another accomplishment to add to the list.

State senators are allowed to choose only one girl from their district to participate in the event, which means Kinlie will be representing all of Senate District 8, which includes Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Jackson, Eagle and Garfield counties.

White believes Kinlie will also take away lasting lessons from the event.

“It’s just a wonderful experience to have her see firsthand how the process works,” she said.

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