Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day 36 High School Girls as role models

February 5, 2014

During our Girls Make It Day we were lucky enough to have discovered and invited some high school girls to work with our middle school girls for the day.   I can't say enough how important to have female role models who are just a little older  when you are working with younger girls.  Often we think of role models as being  high tech women who have technology careers.  While these type of models are important,  we should not overlook the impact that high school girls can have as role models.

High School Mentor Maxine models
working with conductive thread
One of the most successful parts of our Girls Make It Day  was inviting  high school mentors to be part of the day.  Not only did the girls benefit from hearing Maxine   speak of her experiences at Essex High School,  they also got to watch her confidence and skill level as she taught them to solder.  I'm sure that provided a "if she can do it, I can to"  or "I want to do that, too."

Our girls also got to learn from watching high school sophomore Amelia from Big Picture school as she worked along with them through the day's activities.

Because high school girls are often in a place where these girls will be in the not so distant future,  it is easier for the girls to picture themselves doing what Maxine or Amelia are  doing.  It's just around the corner for them.  It's within reach.

One of the coolest part of having Maxime  and Amelia there as a high school mentors was to be able to share the story of how we met Maxime. We did not meet our high school mentors through their high school classrooms.   We met Maxine and Amelia  at the Champlain Maker Faire in the Fall and once again at the recent monthly social that the Generator help.   This reinforces the importance of school-home-community connections in creating amazing  connections that are a valuable part or learning experiences.

My advice to our young girls is "get yourself"  involved with as many things as you can out in the community.  Not only does this open up doors for you,  it also provides you with experiences that will help you grow in ways your classroom experience can't.   This day provided our high school mentors an opportunity to practice her leadership skills.  It provided them with stories to tell in their college or job interviews and provides them with noticeable information they can add to their portfolios or scholarship applications.

Having our young girls hear this type of advice is one thing, but having them see it play out through our high school mentors (who are now on their radar)  models so much more than 'tech skills".  It models  confident young ladies' journey towards college and career - a journey that will be part of our middle school's journey very soon.

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