ANTIOCH -- "We will prevail over obstacles, we are women -- we fight -- we fight back -- when you beat women down, it only makes us stronger."
Those were the words of inspiration given by Antioch High School junior Charl'e Bishop to her fellow female classmates during the school's inaugural Girl Power event last week. Charl'e was the sole student speaker at the event, which featured nearly 20 local women of inspiration.
The half-day program was an exercise by the school to help empower its feminine population.
"We brought in the local women from the community, and they were incredible," Antioch High School Vice Principal Lindsay Wisely said.
"We got to honor them and show the girls, here (are) people who graduated from Antioch High School, who are now leading our community," Wisely said. "And I think they got a chance to see, yeah, you can come back to your community, you can make an impact."
The morning activities also included feedback from the school's Listening Circle (a group of girls that meets once a month to discuss girl issues/pressures) and the documentary "Miss Representation," which shows how media glorify women as sex symbols.
Wisely said, "I thought the documentary ... really gave them information of how sometimes the media ... can really objectify girls and can really impact our self-perception.
"It showed a lot of clips from commercials, music videos, video games and how women are portrayed," Wisely said. "It even talked about some of the most recent films, where the woman is the super hero, but she is still this sex object."
Despite being 90 minutes long, Wisely said, "it was super engaging ... (the students) were just glued."
Freshman Dariannia Johnson said she was surprised at what she learned from the program.
"We learned a lot of different stuff," Dariannia said. "Like what you could say when guys want stuff from us, and how we don't need to change for anybody and we're perfect the way we are."
Sophomore Sam Ruvalcaba said the morning's activities were not at all what she expected.
"Most people thought it was just some girl power speech, as in just saying what we already know," she said. "I was surprised; I didn't know that it had so much effect on people worldwide and globally ... as they stated -- just human tools."
Sam explained that for her, the documentary showed that girls were being taken advantage of and that they feel their potential is based solely on their looks. She found the documentary inspirational.
"Maybe become more of a role model," Sam said. "I'm in the engineering academy ... a lot of girls get made fun of -- you can't do this, this is just for men."
Sophomore Alexis Dodge said the entire event was inspiring to her, but the part that really stood out for her was when Charl'e took the stage.
"When the girl went up there ... she stood up for what she believed in -- she said she was gay ... it gave me the chills. It felt like it came from the bottom of her heart," said Alexis, who struggles with bullies because she also is gay.
Wisely said Girl Power is just one of the tools the school plans on using. It also plans to start Link Crew on campus next year, which is a program where seniors mentor freshmen throughout their first year of high school. In addition, it is in the process of creating a conflict-management group to help resolve issues that arise on campus.
"It's about connectedness, the girls feeling like they have a place, and I think that this is just one event, but I hope that it becomes more than that," Wisely said. "I hope the girls feel empowered to build new programs, start clubs -- that they work together with each other."