Words: Chy Murali
Day of the Girl, an international movement to end violence against girls and women and empower them for the future, kicked off last week at Centennial with students celebrating the week by supporting the fight to end violence against women. The week concluded Friday on October 11, The International Day of the Girl Child, with students wearing yellow and gathering in the Media Center after school, from 2:15 in the afternoon till six, to recognize Mrs. Vanderpool, one of the first and few female athletic directors in Howard County, and watch the CNN documentary, “Girl Rising.”
Mrs. Michelle Mckinnon, a special education teacher at Centennial, organized the weeklong event with the help of students and fellow teachers. With their assistance, posters were drawn and a table was set up in the front of the school to sell yellow ribbons and raise awareness for the cause. Her purpose was to introduce the movement to all the students at Centennial. “I wanted to get the momentum and educate them about global issues and where they can take it,” she stated.
Gabriel Deleon, a freshman at Centennial, felt that it definitely got out a huge message. He attended the the screening of the documentary and was proud to be there. “I liked the part when people got to share their differences and experiences where they are treated differently, but are still not broken by it,” said Deleon.
Centennial students were able to answer the question of what girls plus education meant to them, view the literature display in the front of the school authored by girls, and receive an invitation to the celebration in Silver Spring.
Mckinnon wishes for the event to spread a positive message among women, especially growing girls.
“Girls should know that they can excel,” said Mckinnon. “ Some girls do not know that they can excel in STEM or other subjects. Girls of all cultures should respect each other, but they should also respect themselves.”
After school on Friday, the week concluded with a final event that lasted from 2:15 to 6:00. Students and teachers gathered in the Media Center to listen and watch as Vanderpool was presented with an award. Vanderpool was very flattered and proclaimed, “It was awesome. I think it is a wonderful movement for women. Not just young women. All women.”
Afterwards they watched “Girl Rising”, a documentary that closely followed the tales of nine girls in different developing parts of the world attempting to pursue their dreams while overcoming numerous obstacles. Festivities included cake, goldfish, and popcorn for everyone.
The documentary was one that Mckinnon wanted to show girls. “I wanted the girls to open their eyes,” says Mckinnon, “The girls in the movie had obstacles. All were different. No matter what obstacles, it is you that can overcome and come out to the top and dream big. That’s what those girls did.”