By Angie Gascho, Ed.D.
This January – March, OLP had the opportunity to send 20 students as student ambassadors to participate in a new program, “Empowering Female Voices” sponsored by NCGS (The National Coalition of Girls Schools) and the Close-Up Foundation of Washington D.C. that focuses on raising the female voice. Students were nominated by their Social Studies teachers based on their enthusiasm and academic dedication to the subjects of politics, public policy, and history and were then invited to undergo an application process. The 20 ambassadors from OLP were: Ava Harris ’24, Olivia Shull ’24, Lizette Camarena ’23, Augustina Estrada ’23, Jordan Ho ’23, Gillian Johnson ’23, Claire Latham ’23, Taryn Lukasik ’23, Sophia Martin Ruvalcaba ’23, Alexandra Martinez ’23, Marian Sanchez Hernandez ’23, Maribel Acevedo ’22, Kiara Ashman ’22, Priscilla Cano ’22, Nathalia Cerda ’22, Mikayla Gibson ’22, Olivia Gonzales ’22, Valentina Rubio Lopez ’22, and Maya Berthoud ’21.
Over the course of six sessions of “Empowering Female Voices: President’s First 100 Days” students were given the opportunity to explore political values, learn and deliberate about critical policy issues, and consider ways to activate members of their communities to take action on the issues that matter most with students from across the country. When asked about her biggest takeaway from the program, sophomore Lizette Camarena says, “I learned the importance of speaking up and that we can make a change in the world. It helped me realize that my voice matters and that I have something to say.” Students came back energized with new ideas about how to bring what they learned to the OLP community. Senior Maya Berthoud commented, “I truly loved the whole program! I learned to value and understand others’ opinions/perspectives and even life experiences. Everyone had different input and it was valuable for me to learn about new perspectives that I was unfamiliar with. I think this program is really great and hope it continues at OLP!” We are happy to report that we will be sending another 8 student ambassadors to the next NCGS Close-Up Program this spring!