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Strong Girls, Strong World

Strong Girls, Strong World

Event at Central Tech brings awareness to issues affecting girls in their communities and worldwide

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Categories: Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Hundreds of grade 10, 11, and 12 girls from Central Technical School (CTS), plus selected female students from Harbord CI, Central Toronto Academy, Heydon Park SS, and King Edward PS, heard from and interacted with influential Canadian girls and women during the Strong Girls, Strong World conference held at CTS on October 22.

Designed by girls, for girls, the conference was organized by the Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Status of Women to mark the International Day of the Girl and to bring awareness to issues affecting girls in their communities and worldwide.

In addition to Leitch, special guests and speakers included Canada AM host Marci Ien, UNICEF Ethiopia Goodwill Ambassador Hannah Godefa, Olympic Gold medal winners Hayley Wickenheiser and Jennifer Heil, and television personality Rick Mercer.

Interactive, workshop-style breakout sessions connected young Canadians across the country through web cast. Topics included how to be a leader and a change maker, entrepreneurship, thinking globally and acting locally, healthy living, and more. Education was a common theme throughout the day. Leitch told the crowd that “education is the most valuable asset you can have.”

Sixteen year-old former TDSB student Godefa, who founded the Pencil Mountain Project agreed. Her main message is that “education is the key to success.” Indeed, after sharing some of her experiences on stage, she credited her own success to the “community-based type of teaching, direction and guidance from teachers” at her former elementary school, Morse Street PS. “That was the best education I’ve ever received,” she said.

Proud host principal Tom Trotter said the event was a huge success. “We had more than 400 girls from Central Tech and neighbouring schools talking about how to make this a better community and a better world and that’s amazing.” He told students that “together, you are strong girls making a strong world.”

At the closing session, Marci Ien told the group that they were an inspiration. “Our future is in very good hands because you’re it.”

The students then watched a video about education activist Malala Yousafzai. Her oft-cited entreaty that “one child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world,” was powerful and captivated the crowd. Fittingly, Malala was named one of two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize on October 10, the eve of the International Day of the Girl.

The TDSB celebrated the International Day of the Girl earlier in the month. Hundreds of girls and mentors from the TDSB’s Young Women on the Move (YWM) initiative gathered to explore the theme ‎"The Power of Girls to Innovate and Create Through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math‎ (STEM)."  TDSB’s Young Women on the Move supports thousands of girls each year and empowers them to be agents of change, utilizing confidence and courage to create a caring and positive world.

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