By Jennette Barnes
The Standard-Times, New Bedford, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dubbed the “Self-e STEAM” conference, the event focused on two hot topics for teen girls: self-esteem and the embracing of studies in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“Come in a like a queen,” theater owner and acting coach Lorna Brunelle told a middle-schooler waiting outside a classroom at Our Sisters School.
Each girl in the workshop took a turn walking in, faced a small circle of her peers, announced her name and read a mock script for a television commercial.
One entered to the sounds of a powerful Beyoncé song playing on Brunelle’s phone. Some kept their eyes on the script and needed a gentle nudge to look up. All got a confidence boost from her infectious encouragement.
“You were literally radiating positive energy in the room,” she told one girl. “I love that about you, so keep sparkling.”
The session was just one part of a five-hour conference at Our Sisters School, a private middle school in New Bedford for economically disadvantaged girls. Dubbed the Self-e STEAM conference, the event focused on two hot topics for teen girls: self-esteem and the embracing of studies in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
A group of student leaders played a major role in planning the conference — developing the idea, meeting over lunch, emailing prospective speakers and keeping track of replies, said arts and STEAM-lab teacher Tobey Eugenio.
“It’s 100 percent student-driven,” she said.
The planning was a learning experience in itself, she said. The girls had to handle real-life situations, such as how to respond when an invited presenter didn’t get back to them right away.
On the day of the event, each student had to choose among concurrent workshops, just like at a real conference.