Crowns, Ships and Haiku

Posted by Dr. Beth Reaves

Last week I shared my reflections on the International Day of the Girl. This week, I’d like to revisit that day so I can share with you how our students and staff celebrated girls and girlhood.

The day’s activities were largely a surprise for students, who were allowed to dress out of uniform by wearing pink on Thursday. On the Wednesday prior, students made and decorated paper crowns to represent their inner queens, and while some opted for simple looks, several students really got creative with their designs!

Following morning classes, students enjoyed a special spaghetti lunch while watching an episode of Daughters of Destiny, a Netflix documentary series on a girls’ school in India. (I’ve seen the entire series, and I highly recommend watching all four episodes). I was really impressed by students’ responses to the series and their thoughtful questions about what it means to be an educated girl in the world.

In the afternoon, students split up into groups to participate in three different activities: Group Shout-Outs, Voyage of the Girlship and Forces of Nature Haiku.

Wearing her crown, each student had an opportunity to receive praise and positive reinforcement from her classmates, who called out her strengths and assets. Admittedly, this activity was a little chaotic, but the energy and enthusiasm of the students had an amazing effect. You could see each girl beaming with pride amidst the cacophony of praise and applause from her peers.

Working in small groups, students collaborated on a design for a Girlship – a seafaring vessel that would represent and spread their culture as girl ambassadors to the world. Students created artistic representations of their ship using construction paper and markers and identified their individual roles as members of the ship’s crew.

Each student also had the opportunity to reflect on her unique gifts by imagining herself as a force of nature and writing and illustrating a haiku about it. I particularly liked this activity because writing haiku is such a fun, quick activity that really lets you play with words and imagery. In fact, in the spirit of the day, I wrote my own force of nature haiku:

Warm rays nurture growth

Rise, smile, bringing light and life

Reflect back on one’s soul

And finally, as with all good celebrations, the Day of the Girl ended with a dance party! I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap an amazing afternoon of girl empowerment.