Two seniors lead schoolwide project focused on empowering women

Two seniors lead schoolwide project focused on empowering women

Adams-Friendship High School seniors Deana Johnson and Jaydan Frank have decided they want to spend their lives helping women. As part of their senior capstone project, they teamed up to lead a schoolwide day of workshops that focused on empowering women and on women’s mental health.

Johnson and Frank are in a three-year college-prep program and must present a final project that is geared toward preparing them for their college studies.

Johnson and Frank wanted to make their project about more than just themselves.

“Especially with social media, Instagram and all that other stuff, there’s a lot of pressure on girls to act a certain way, dress a certain way, look a certain way, and I think all of that affects mental health,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Frank had planned this for several months and were happy they were able to pull it off. They ran the idea by the principal with the intention of having any female student opt out of regular classes for the day to attend workshops held in various locations throughout the school for a day of learning in a different way.

Johnson and Frank both said social media has a major affect on everyone who uses it, but particularly women whose mental health might be compromised because of it.

“We want to be perfect and not have flaws, and we want people to like us,” Frank said. To that, Johnson added, “I think everyone wants to be that perfect image, everyone wants to be important, everyone wants to be the girl that everyone looks at, and it’s like ‘Oh my god, that girl is so beautiful. Oh my god that girl has a perfect life. Everybody wants it so bad that they’re always striving for it. They will go through whatever means to try and get it and then when they don’t get it, when you don’t have that contentment in yourself, or really embrace yourself, it makes a lot of things go wrong.”

Johnson and Frank conducted a survey with the women in school asking what might be leading to their biggest mental health issues. Out of the information they collected, they scheduled workshops that catered to helping address some of those issues on top of workshops that would be geared toward women and mental health in general.

The workshops covered topics such as self-defense, human trafficking, domestic violence, academic stress, time management, healthy eating, yoga, aromatherapy and more.

“I’m just super proud of the girls and everything they’ve accomplished in such a short time,” Johnson and Frank’s teacher Krystian Weglarz said.” I think it’s important to mention that when we unveiled this idea, it was only going to be conceptual in nature. I didn’t think this would actually become a reality.”

Many students signed up for the workshops. While some admit they did it as an excuse to get out of class, they also said they ended up enjoying the day and retaining the information.

“It’s really good, especially for the younger girls in the school, to realize you’re worth a lot more than you think you are,” said student Maliah Rivette.

Johnson and Frank will present their findings from the workshops in mid-May to a panel of judges.

Weglarz said he hopes other students will follow their lead and continue to do projects like this in the future.

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