Gender biases are grossly entrenched in our community, which creates disadvantages for girls who are up against a history of suppression, silence, and inequality. A strong girl in our society needs to stand up for herself and persevere through a great number of challenges. She is one that can listen to critique and choose how to use it, is kind and helpful, does not subscribe to gender norms, believes that she can do anything she sets her mind to, does not fall to social pressure to be something she is not, voices “no” with dignity and respect, and works independently without need for validation from others. The elementary-aged girls chosen for this series are a small sample of the strength in our community. This series began after 6 years of teaching art at Stevenson Elementary.
Lilly is a quiet leader as others learn through her example. She has wowed a classroom of kindergarteners with her original art lesson and patient demeanor. Lilly writes her own stories, music, and creates original artwork on a regular basis. She wants to be an author and attributes her strong girl status to the guidance of her father.
Chanler is a persistent individual who is strong in academics and athletics. She would like to play on the USA women’s hockey team or softball team. Chanler is not concerned with how others perceive her and she declares, “I choose to lead myself and not let others lead me.”
Katelyn has positive energy and encourages others as an uplifting teammate. She has a great sense of design and aims to be a decorator or painter. Her mother inspires her to believe that she can do anything.
Kayla is curious about her surroundings, competitive, and helpful to others. She aspires to be an entomologist. According to Kayla, “if I think I can do something, I usually can.”
Katie is feisty individual who never lets anyone take advantage of her. Her loving family plays an important roll for her as they empower her to take charge of her life. She says that her family makes her strong because they are always there for her.
Lydia is a quiet girl who can surprise you with her talent and kindness when you least expect it. Inspired by God and her mother, Lydia cares for others and stands up for what she knows is right. She wants to be a nurse or doctor so she can continue to help others.
Maddy is a passionate person willing to debate to prove her point. She makes her own choices based on what she feels is right rather than simply following the norm. Maddy has in interest in being an artist because it is her favorite subject so she can be strong like her art teacher.
Nothing holds Hannah back. She set a goal to run a 10K and made it and she continues to stretch her goal further and train harder. Hannah has a unique sense of humor, enjoys science-fiction, and completes her tasks with stubbornness. Hannah looks forward to a career as an artist or astronaut.
Ellie expresses herself through art, dance, and singing and aims to make a living from it when she is older. Her family supports her creative endeavors and values her originality. Ellie commands the room silently with her confidence.
Surrounded and supported by her family, Chelsea diligently applies herself in academics and creative endeavors. She values both her independence and her family’s traditions. Her empathetic personality will help her with her aspirations to become a doctor as she continues to stand up for herself and for others.
Rujuta is a multi-faceted individual who brightens every room she enters with her generous smile. She puts her best foot forward in every aspect of life and accepts new challenges. She advocates for anti-bullying in the school and is always looking out for the well being of others; she will continue to help people as a pediatrician in adulthood. Rujuta says, “I know that I always will be and want to be a Strong Girl.”
Maddy and Lilly have an inseparable relationship. Using dedicated studio space and a shared bedroom, the girls have plentiful opportunities to inspire each others’ creativity.
Lea is a self motivated girl who sets her own goals. She knows that she is responsible for making herself “strong” and that her parents, grandma, and brother help make her smart. Lea takes responsibility for her own actions and does not follow others blindly. She wants to pursue a career in art.
Genesee is inspired by her mother to stand up for what she believes in; she is not afraid to be herself. Genesee aims to be a Supreme Court Justice because she “wants to make sure people are being treated equally and fairly across the country.”