Voices

My Girl Up Journey

Kiana is a high school senior from Orange County, California!

  1. Story

When I entered high school, I knew that I wanted to join a club that I would be passionate about and meet people who shared similar interests with me. In doing my research to find a club I could make an impact with, I came across Girl Up. I instantly knew that this was the club for me, and that my passion would inspire others to help me make a difference. When I learned how girls weren’t given the opportunity to pursue educational dreams like me, the only thing I could think was, what made me so special? Why did I deserve to be able to go to school and they couldn’t? That was the beginning of my Girl Up journey.

Over three years, my Club has grown from 15 students (the requirement to start a Club at my school) to more than 98 boys and girls that are just as passionate as I am. Together, we’ve held fundraisers and raised over $10,000 with bake sales and ice-skating events. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to host any fundraisers this year.

On a positive note, because the pandemic put everything on pause, I had some free time during quarantine where I decided to write a children’s book, inspired by a specific experience I had with a teacher sophomore year. Math has always been my favorite subject and a subject that always came easy to me, but Algebra II honors will go down as the class I will never forget. Although I was warned against taking this class with this teacher, I didn’t want to back away from a rigorous course. As one of the youngest students in this class, I was very intimidated by horror stories I had heard about the teacher. However, I never knew how much of an understatement they were. My teacher enjoyed setting us up for failure. No matter how many hours I studied, I came into her class in the morning, after school, and office hours at night, and still, I could not do well. I ended up with an ulcer and hated the subject I once loved. I used my experience in her class as an allegory for our creaky, old education system that has not been renovated for 130 years. By writing this book, I felt I could close the chapter of the most rigorously isolating year of my life by turning it into a positive. I am donating 100% of the profits to many charities, including Girl Up.

I want to leave a legacy at my school with the great impact I have made, and hope to continue to make with this club. Not only has my Club helped send girls to school, but it has helped to create a family amongst my members, including kids who have been shy or bullied – a place to belong. Of all my accomplishments throughout my academic life, this is what I am most proud of. Not only have I added to Girl Up’s impact, Girl Up has made an indefinite impact on me. Even if my story inspires one person, I know that I have used my platform for good.

Please support my book and help send more girls to school by visiting Mrszandme.com.

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