Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School

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Empowered Women Empower Women: OLSH hosts GOLD event

On May 11 and 12 the halls of OLSH were lit through the wee hours of the morning as over 115 students and faculty members participated in a Girls Overnight Leadership Development event. Second-year math and technology teacher Miss Kayla Madler brought the idea to OLSH after having experienced a similar event when she was in middle school. “I attended a GOLD event when I was in the 8th grade at Carson Middle School,” she said. “The event was very memorable for me and a few things from our GOLD event last week stemmed from my experiences at GOLD when I was younger. One of them being the icebreaker called, Cross the Line.” This ice breaker made the girls more aware of issues they all face. Throughout the evening, the young women in attendance heard from speakers about the topics of nutrition and body image, and listened to testimonies from faculty members and fellow students. “Every day our girls walk the halls and they believe a lot of the thoughts and emotions that they are experiencing are personal and they need to be quiet about them,” commented Miss Madler. “They judge other girls because of their own personal insecurities. GOLD was designed to help shift the perspective of these girls so they realize they aren't the only one that worries, cries, feels lonely, feels angry or is embarrassed about something.”

In addition to spending time listening and reflecting, the girls also participated in hands-on activities, including making soap and hair scrunchies, spontaneous dance parties, dodgeball, and writing notes of validation to fellow attendees. Around 4:00 in the morning, Sr. Desire Anne Marie Findlay, a Felician Sister, taught a dance to Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” to the entire group. As Miss Madler describes it, “Everyone was exhausted, yet when I watched the group learn the dance over and over again, it really reminded me how dedicated our young ladies are, how willing they are to try new things, and what can really be accomplished when you work together.”

The final group session included a talk from Miss Madler focusing on toxic relationships and the entire group headed out to the school parking lot and gathered around a gold trash can. Throughout the night, participants were invited to write insecurities onto slips of paper and throw those insecurities into the can. To end the event, the trash can was lit on fire, symbolizing the group letting go of those insecurities. The event was meaningful to the girls who attended, to the faculty who chaperoned and led activities, and to parents who picked up very tired, but very energized girls in the morning. “If I took more than a few minutes to take in the event that night, I got teary eyed,” reflected Madler. “As an adult I have learned so much about myself. I know these girls have a lot of learning ahead of them, and I hope we were able to help even just one young lady shift her perspective.”