Photo of the students who attended the Policy Leadership Summit for Girls

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.” -- Shirley Chisholm, first African American female United States Representative.

Six student leaders from Osbourn Park High School attended the Policy Leadership Summit for Girls, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Voice4Equity and Discovery Education.

The purpose of the summit is to actively involve a greater number of high school girls, especially those from diverse backgrounds, in policy dialogues that influence their schools, communities, and future.

“At the summit, I had an opportunity to experience real-world situations, which allowed me to practice the skills I learn about in books and truly understand the task and challenges at hand,” said Aicha Lo, a senior at Osbourn Park High.

In addition to learning how to create and advocate for policies affecting women and underrepresented students, the participants engaged directly with influential policymakers and other students with similar backgrounds and interests.

“This summit was an amazing opportunity,” said Kennice Anoff, a junior at Osbourn Park. “The best part was being able to see how different women in the world are leading in their respective field and implementing much-needed policies into their legislation.”

During the summit, the students had the opportunity to practice creating and advocating for a policy that was important to them.

“As I engaged in hands-on experiences and reflections, I was able to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations,” shared Lo.

Collaboration between PWCS central office and school staff made students’ participation possible.

“Our partnership was instrumental in bringing this initiative to fruition,” said Dr. Lynmara Colón, director of student opportunity and multilingual services. “By leveraging the school's existing programs that encourage female leadership and combining them with the summit's objectives, we were able to create an experience.”

“Providing opportunities outside the classroom supports student exploration of career pathways, which can help frame a sense of purpose for their future,” said Lisamarie Kane, principal of Osbourn Park High School. “Central office [staff] might become aware of opportunities that building principals do not know about or have funds for. Ultimately, the students benefit when we work together to provide these experiences,” she added.

“Without a doubt this experience will fuel my passion to learn more about how to implement policy in leadership no matter what field I go into,” said Anoff. “[It] will forever impact the way I view women in leadership roles everywhere and for that I am extremely grateful.”