Growth, independence, relationships, leadership, and service. These are the foundations of Chatham Hall’s annual G.I.R.L.S. Day that sees students teach the entire School community about their personal interests.
This year, the fifth annual event, workshops ranged from scientific illustration to embroidery and sustainability to athletic training and more. Those leading sessions truly were able to ignite the light for others in not just their topics, but in numerous interactive activities as well.
“Journaling consistently has brought a number of benefits to my own life. It helped give me an outlet to write and have a safe space to be creative,” said Lily Shaheen ‘23, who offered her first workshop this year on bullet journaling, complete with time to write and draw. “Since I’m a senior, I’ll be leaving Chatham Hall soon and I wanted to offer a workshop this year as a way to give back to the community before I go.”
In order to lead a workshop, students must submit a proposal and work with a mentor. Students not only put together the content of their workshops, but also select an ideal campus location for their topic. As they practice their presentations, they refine what may have started as a big idea into a 40-minute workshop and learn more about facilitating discussions and taking questions.
“G.I.R.L.S. Day really would not be possible without our student presenters, who have put in so much time and effort since first submitting proposals back in October,” noted coordinator Kirsten Blaesing.
“They have accomplished something challenging and worthwhile, on top of everything else in their day-to-day schedules. These student presenters are giving our community an opportunity to explore a new interest or gain a deeper understanding of a passion we already have. Most importantly, they are allowing us to learn something new about each other and make connections with those we may not cross paths with on a daily basis.”
This year the School also hosted the Chatham Fire Department to provide a hands-on experience for students to learn more about containing and extinguishing fires. Students were able to use a fire extinguisher under the direction of fire department professionals, a life skill that they will be able to take with them anywhere they go.
At the end of the day, the School community gathered in Van Voorhis Lecture Hall to reflect together on all that they had learned and done.
“I really like learning about my friends’ interests,” said Bianca Garcia ‘23. “I think we all get to know each other a little better by participating in each other’s workshops.”