Texas Border Business
PHARR – In an effort to motivate students to pursue an education and become leaders in their communities, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD (PSJA ISD) in partnership with Teach for America RGV hosted a film screening of “Girl Rising” at PSJA Southwest Early College High School’s Auditorium on May 21, 2019.
The Girl Rising film uses storytelling to raise awareness and ignite action so that girls everywhere are valued and educated. At the heart of the campaign, beginning with the original Girl Rising film, are powerful stories about courageous girls who confront the barriers to their independence, including poverty, child marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery, trafficking, and tradition. PSJA ISD was one of few school districts in the RGV selected for this special screening.
“What I took from this film is that we are all strong. Even though those girls are on the other side of the world, they are us. We are them,” shared PSJA Southwest Early College High School Senior Daniela Medina who was among the dozens of students who attended the screening. “We are strong and we just have to let ourselves feel these things.”
In addition to the special film screening, the event featured Senior Producer for Girl Rising, Kacey Freed Jennings as a keynote speaker and for a special Q&A session. As part of the Q&A session, several seniors were inspired by the film to share their personal stories in front of their peers.
“It was so moving and inspiring to hear from the students,” said Jennings. “The courage they had to stand up and tell us their stories showed their inner strength. They gave me enormous hope because what they see is students with extraordinary resilience and so much to offer.”
According to PSJA Southwest’s Dean of Instruction Jennifer Burden, the students were so impacted by the film screening that they are now planning a campus project to empower each other and their peers.
“Our kids surprised us as they often do and were completely mobilized after the presentation and began work on a project related to Girl Rising immediately,” Burden said. “We are beyond proud of our students and our community. We have worked very hard to ensure that PSJA Southwest ECHS is a place that values diversity and inclusion and we teach our students to ‘think outside the box’ and take on leadership roles.”
About Kayce Freed Jennings
Kayce has been with Girl Rising since its inception as part of The Documentary Group, which she co-founded. Before that she was a producer for ABC News, covering international and national news while based in London, Atlanta and New York. She produced for virtually every ABC News broadcast and was on the staffs of Nightline, World News Tonight and 20/20. Kayce currently serves on the board of Win, NYC’s largest provider of shelter to homeless families, and the advisory boards of SOLA – School of Leadership, Afghanistan, the Jimbere Fund, and the Bridgehampton Child Care Center. She’s a graduate of Brown University and studied government at the London School of Economics.