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CAG Blog: Powered by Optimism

"Powered by Optimism" captures my reflections of life in and around an all-girls' school and highlights the values of C.A.G.: leadership, global citizenship, wellness, and teaching and learning. Underscoring it all is a deeply ingrained sense of optimism that we are preparing a generation of boldly creative women who will help change the world.

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bound together- 3.14.14

Posted by:  alison
03/14/14 09:10 AM   | reply

March is of special significance to those of us who work with girls – it is Women’s History Month, and we, in our school, mark International Women’s Day with a special speaker, flowers for each of our girls (all 709 of them!), and jubilant Lower School students dressed in purple (the official color of IWD) attire to mark the day.

Like last year, some of our third graders created a Wordle, a cloud of text that gives prominence to words that appear more frequently, with the adjectives they chose to complete the phrase “Girls are….” Just as last year, I was happily surprised by what they came up with: competitive, bold, brave, outstanding, independent, intelligent, marvelous….

How apt it was, then, that our speaker was none other than Dr. Tererai Trent, whom I first wrote about a year ago after hearing her speak about her own quest for an education and her dedication to building rural schools in Zimbabwe. Dr. Trent –Tererai – she simply fills one’s soul. Her message is, on one level, about how education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. On another, it is about the power unleashed by educating girls in particular. Her message is about persistence, and believing in one’s dreams. Finally, it is about her urgent desire to have us all understand that we are bound together in our womanhood, our girlhood – and that we must lift each other up in times of triumph and in times of struggle. It is only then that we will create a better world.

One of our fourth graders did just that. After the talk, she walked over to Tererai and said: “I have some change in my backpack I would like to give you for the schools you are building. Can you wait so I can go and get it?”

Seemingly small, this gesture had a profound impact on all of us who were there.  The absolute innocence of a nine-year old who wanted to do what was in her capacity to do to make the world a better place is not just moving – it is breathtaking. It means that this little girl’s heart swelled with empathy, that her intellect understood the need of children on the other side of the world, and that, without any calculation, any hesitation, her conscience told her she had to do something.

And all she could do in that moment was give.

At age nine, she already knows what Tererai was trying to tell us. We are bound together in our womanhood, our girlhood. It is when we honor those bonds that we will create a better world. 

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