WOHS Celebrates International Day of The Girl

Everyday, not just on International Day of the Girl, a brighter future is being fought for and by girls throughout the world and the young women of the Gen Z are sweeping the nation with creative ways to empower the women in their lives.

The Next Gen Come Up and Anya Dillard (CEO of Next Gen Come Up)

Tyra Hughes, Editor in Chief

If there is anything that young women in the Gen Z have mastered (and there are many things), it is their efforts toward championing powerful movements that uplift young women and strive for a brighter future for all. The International Day of the Girl, an observance day celebrated annually on October 11, allows young women to come together in an effort to spark up empowerment, challenge the adversities faced by underprivileged communities, and pave a promising future for the generations to come. 

Everyday, not just on International Day of the Girl, a brighter future is being fought for and by girls throughout the world, and the young women of the Gen Z are sweeping the nation with impactful ways to empower the women in their lives. The movement has made it’s way right into the halls of West Orange High, where the newly formed Girls Up club and student activist, Anya Dillard has championed creative projects to empower the young women of our community in the spirit of International Day of the Girl. 

 The Girls Up club – which is advised by English teacher Ms. Baker – created a post it note mural compiled of inspirational quotes to “allow young girls at WOHS to support and lift each other up.” Club members, Ebun Ade, Kai Mccall, Nadia Lamar, and Morgan Mcniel dedicated their time after school to create the mural, which took about 2 hours to complete and can now be found outside the Nurses office.

The mural aims to serve as a beacon of positivity for the young women of West Orange High that empowers and emphasizes their ability to achieve a prosperous future. The first step toward shaping the future of young women is to simply bestow the necessary encouragement to strive for their goals, and Girls Up hopes to make such an impact by allowing fellow students and teachers to add their own words of wisdom to the mural throughout October. 

As Morgan Mcneil put it, “The power to create, to change their world and to lead [is something that] we must believe within ourselves first. While we often celebrate women empowerment, it is important to educate ourselves on how we can contribute to the world as young women!” 

 To many of the Girls Up members, International Day of the Girl gives the opportunity to help change the lives of young women around them by recognizing their own privilege and becoming more aware of the adversities that young girls experience globally.  In an interview, Ms. Baker noted that International Day of the Girl is especially important to celebrate because “it is always important to try and help improve their way of life, even if it’s as simple as a positive message or a donation to a charity that helps young girls.” 

International Day of the Girl is not only about recognizing the ability of young women to transform the world around them, but it is also about connecting young girls together through mutual support and empowerment. Together, girls across the globe this month also joined in a #MarchForSisterhood, a digital march created by Girls Who Code that encourages young girls to support each other by advocating for change in societal issues. 

West Orange High School junior, Anya Dillard brought the digital #MarchforSisterhood into the halls of West Orange High by creating an empowering video featuring the young women of West Orange High. The video showed young girls marching together throughout West Orange High while expressing confidence in themselves and an outpour of appreciation to their fellow peers on International Day of the Girl. As a teen activist and CEO of the website, The Next Gen Come Up, Anya Dillard expressed that she hoped for her video show how important it is for girls to uplift and support each other, “even when we may not know each other”.  The video, which has over 1000 views on Instagram, was well received among the young girls who participated in it. Anya added that, “The energy from everyone was so amazing both during production and on social media, and all I can say if that I’m forever grateful that I was able to support such an amazing cause.” 

Anya also expressed that the #MarchforSisterhood and the International Day of the Girl inspired her to create her video because she is an advocate for spreading love and appreciation to the women in her life. When asked about the quote that she lives by, Anya Dillard recalled an inspiring quote from the fitness expert Bianca Jade: 

“No matter where you are in life, inspire and empower the women around you. Success is never reached alone. And, wisdom and wealth are sweeter shared.” 

Through her video, Dillard brought together many young women highlighting their confidence and support toward each other on International Day of the Girl, which is a positive message that she noted society often disregards. With an immense admiration for the International Day of the Girl, as well as the Girls Who Code’s #MarchFor Sisterhood, Anya Dillard expressed how seeing young women support each other in spite of the pressure to see peers as competition is nothing short of a triumph.

As Anya Dillard put it: “Encouraging and helping each other holds so much more value than competing with one another. Society makes it hard for women to excel as it is, so for us to be able to come together in love, support, motivation, and to see each other through our evolution into boss women — that is phenomenal to me.” 

Like Anya, Girls Up similarly aims to bring a positive message out to West Orange High as they execute the importance of educating, inspiring and uplifting young girls. Club advisor Ms. Baker hopes “to ensure that young girls in this school feel like their voices are being heard and to use their voice to make a difference”. Evidently, through the power of words Girls Up has strived to accomplish that goal with their creative mural throughout the month of October.  

 There is nothing more inspiring than to see a community of young women in West Orange working toward a common goal to empower each other. Through the dedication of students like Anya Dillard, all of the young women who were apart of her video and the Girls Up club, West Orange students truly took up the opportunity to celebrate the International Day of the Girl. With the efforts of these young women, they are truly paving the way for a bright future for the young women who will lead the world after them.