Girl Rising Goes Remote

Revived Club Gaining Traction

Madelyn Forse ('21), Orbit Contributor

As RMHS enters week seven of remote learning and the beginning of hybrid learning, the Girl Rising Club continues to donate, raise awareness, and bring to light the issues of young girls in third world countries struggling to gain an education in a new way under the supervision of advisor Mrs. Howie and Presidents Margaret Coles and Caroline Hugo.

Last fall, Margaret Coles (‘21) and Caroline Hugo (‘21) approached history teacher Ms. Howie with the intention of reinventing the Girl Rising club that was once very popular just a couple of years ago. With Coles’ and Hugo’s strong passion for feminism and social justice, Ms. Howie was on board. Soon enough, there was a small, but vital, group of young girls meeting every other Tuesday morning. 

After Covid-19, most clubs came to a halt. Although the Girl Rising Club was able to participate in some clothing drives and fundraisers, including creating a tree for the Festival of Trees back in December, all members can agree that they didn’t get to accomplish all that they wished. This school year, structured differently via Zoom meetings and breakout rooms, the Co-Presidents have a list of projects they would like to complete. 

Coles is hopeful that meetings being virtual will be easier saying, “One thing is that it’s easier to get guest speakers since they can log on to Zoom from wherever and talk to us all easily.” Last year, Assistant Principal Ms. Theriault was able to come to a meeting and talk about a volunteer project and trip she agreed to go on during the winter. 

The club has certainly increased in size because of some social media posts made by some of the officers. Hugo says, “I’m so happy that we did get more members this year, there are more people at the meetings because there are fewer prior conflicts. Plus, it’s just online so it’s easier to get to.” Coles agrees, “New members are definitely helpful, maybe since it’s more convenient to log on during Flex than try to plan rides from parents, come before school, etc.”

Not everything has become easier. One collective goal of the senior Co-Presidents, 3 officers, and 2 fundraising heads is to keep the club running smoothly after they graduate. The original plan was to have the underclassmen get much more involved so they would be ready by the spring to step up to the plate. Hugo says, “It’s a lot harder to get members of the club involved with online learning and to share out their ideas. We really want to hear from everyone, but the new online format makes it a bit awkward and uncomfortable.” Coles agrees, “It’s harder to engage with people in the club like talking in groups, reading the room, people feel more resistant to talk in breakout groups.”

Both Coles and Hugo agree this year is going to be challenging trying to do all the projects they want. Regarding the planned (but unfortunately canceled) screen of the Girl Rising organization’s official movie, Coles says, “It’s harder to plan some things, like screening the movie, that we could in the normal world just have at RCTV one day. We now need to weather to cooperate, permission from the principal to use the parking lot, and the hassle of getting a permit from the town.” Hugo says, “We may now have to stream it online with our members. It’s really unfortunate because it’s something we have been working towards since we started our club.”

Next week, RMHS transitions into the hybrid model. While some classes are now in person, clubs still need to have their meetings virtually due to the limit of people inside a room at a time, continuing to pose as an issue to Girl Rising and multiple other clubs.