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This week was technology week at Girls Inc, and I was back with the highschoolers! I was with the ninth graders Monday and Tuesday, and the tenth graders Wednesday and Thursday. I taught both grades the same lesson, which took two days for each, but the discussions ended up varying a lot.

The lesson surrounded social media and online campaigns. The first day was spent talking about how the girls use social media, online safety, and famous campaigns. We talked about Me Too, Black Lives Matter, and March for Our Lives. The most important part of the first day was when the girls got into groups of three or four and picked an issue they were all passionate about. The next day, we defined what campaigns were and then the girls had the rest of class to create websites about what they were passionate about. The girls all created websites on Wix and then presented to rest of the class.

The ninth graders chose the environment, discrimination against Hispanics, the Equality Act, and the Innocence Project. The tenth graders chose immigration policy, human rights, animal rights, and equal pay as their issues. Although there was some overlap in the topics, the discussions had differed greatly.

The ninth graders were a lot less aware of some of the campaigns we talked about, and so the discussion centered more around what they were and how they thought they were using social media. The tenth graders already knew about the campaigns, so we ended up discussing how they went viral a lot more. A lot of the tenth graders even had personal stories to share relating to the issues, and I talked about my efforts with voter registration at Duke.

With both grades, the girls were definitely hesitant to get started on their projects, but once they realized they had a lot of freedom with what they were making, they became excited. I tried to emphasize that this was just an example of how the girls have the power to speak up and raise awareness for what they are passionate about.

Aside from the lesson this week, I have really enjoyed getting to see the girls get closer to one another. The first week of camp a lot of them were relatively shy and relied a lot on staff, versus now they have made so many friends and don’t need us socially. As the last week of camp approaches on Monday, I am really hoping that the girls will maintain these relationships and stay in touch throughout the rest of the year.