MINOT, N.D. - At Sunnyside Elementary School, teacher of the year Sara Medalen has started 'Girl Power' after learning that two-thirds of the illiterate people in our world are women. She wanted to find a way to empower her students to make a difference.
"Strong girls means a stronger world," said Kianna Leblenc, fourth grader.
That is exactly what these third, fourth, and fifth graders are learning.
Medalen and a group of her fellow teachers have created an after school program to inspire girls to reach goals they didn't even know they have.
"We talk to them about dreaming big and setting goals to reach their dreams," said Medalen.
To help with that, the teachers are bringing in women who work in nontraditional female career fields such as Fire Chief Kelly Kronschnabel and Superintendent Kirsten Baesler.
"You can't be what you can't see. So for them to actually meet women in those career fields. It helps them be able to set a goal and know that they want to work hard in school and life to reach that goal," said Medalen.
Not only does Girl Power empower these Sunnyside girls for the future, the students also want to pay it forward and help other girls.
"I want to work harder to let girls go to school because every girl should go to school," said Makenzie Primeau, third grader.
Over FaceTime, Girl Power found out a lot of young girls in Haiti don't get to go to school.
"We learned that most girls in Haiti only go to school until they are about seven," said Medalen.
Sunnyside girls learned that although the children in Haiti don't have electricity, money to go to school, or ice cream, they aren't that different from one another.
"They did talk about what their goals and aspirations are. It was really cool to see that our girls wanted to be doctors, and lawyers, and hair dressers, and musicians, and artists, and their girls has the same dreams," said Medalen.
"It makes me feel happy because when I get to see the girls and how they speak because they don't speak the same language as we do," said Primeau.
Girl Power has so many aspects to it, but there is one underlying theme.
"If a girl wanted to join the soccer team and boys said they can't because they are a girl then that doesn't make sense because they are both persons and they should be able to do anything," said Zoe Garcia, third grader.
Empowering young girls to make a stronger world.
The Sunnyside girls have raised more than $600. That is enough for two girls to go to school in Haiti.
Medalen and the teachers plan to keep this program going to help those in Haiti and empower those here in the Magic City.