So I know I’ve been a little depressing as of late. I apologize, it’s just been a rough couple of weeks.
Today was really nice, though; it was moving and powerful. A couple of months ago I received an invitation to bring four of my sophomores to the Women of the World Leadership conference day for students. Only so many schools are invited so I definitely wanted to make sure I brought some of our young ladies.
I selected four of my sophomores and we drove out to Notre Dame of MD early this morning. Their small arena was filled with about 500 young women and chaperones for this event. My girls were so excited to be there; they’d been excited since I asked them to join me a couple of weeks ago. It was an amazing feat especially considering these girls were supposed to have a 3 day weekend (today was a faculty professional development day) so they gave up their day off for this.
The day was designed to empower young women to be leaders in their school and in their community. There were several powerful female speakers that spoke about their lives and how they became a leader in their own rights and how these young women can be the change that this world needs. There were leaders from One Love and Pretty Girl Revolution, which are two organizations I brought to my school because I believe in those organizations so highly, as well as Running Start, Notre Dame, and others.
My girls wanted pictures with everyone and wanted to meet everyone. I was so happy about that. They wanted to make an impact and they wanted to reach out and make connections with these powerful women in our community. Two of my girls were even asked to join Running Start because they were so well-spoken and had so many goals to help their community.
One of the best parts of the day, is that my girls were on the local news station tonight! One of our local broadcasters was there interviewing for the broadcast tonight and my girls asked if they could go and talk to her. I’m not going to say no; I was so proud of them. They were poised and eloquent in front of the camera; they definitely held their own.
But I was most proud at how respectful and engaged they were the whole day. It was a long day but even until the end they were fully invested in the day and they were paying attention to even the last speaker like she was the first person there. There were other girls behind us who were goofing off by the end and it was annoying me, but I was still so proud to see my girls acting like leaders; like respectful young women and I was proud.
I even got to see my old science teacher from middle school. Most people know her, these days as Michael Phelps’ mom; I just know her as Ms. Phelps; one of the best teacher’s I’ve ever had. I love her so much. She emcee’d the event today. She still remembers me, which is even more amazing. I got the biggest hug, even though there were so many other girls clamoring to see her; she hung out with me and met my girls. She’s like, “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown up and that you have students of your own now”. Of course my girls took a picture with her (and I was super cool for a minute because I know Michael Phelps’ mom). She talked with them for a few minutes, she said to them at one point, “I’ve known your counselor since she was younger than you; she was so shy, so quiet in middle school, kept to herself but I believed in her and I knew she was going todo great things. And now that same shy girl has grown up into your advocate and your loudest cheerleader and she brought the four of you here because she believes in you the way I believed in her all those years ago and I know you’ll make her as proud as she’s made me.”
It was definitely a bonding moment for my girls and for me. It reminded them that the adults they know in the building were once kids, too. We were their age once, we remember some of the struggles.
It was a long day, but it was a great day. It restored some of my optimism and some of my faith in humanity. The past couple of weeks had made me more cynical than normal and made me kind of gruff, even with the kids. It’s hard for someone to experience the last couple of weeks and not become cynical because of it. But sometimes you need a day to bring you back to your purpose. I started in this profession to help young people work through their young years so they can become whatever they want to be. Today four of my girls had some pretty amazing women tell them to go and achieve what they want no matter what anyone says; to accomplish their goals and dreams and make a difference. They all listened and engaged in the day and it made me happy.
Here’s hoping this little rough patch is ending and better things are coming. I’m not sure if I could have handled a lot more of the bad things.