Shawnee Heights Women Show Great Leadership

Andrea Lopez and Rebecca Donaldson

Over the last century, women have had incredible growth in leadership positions. Locally, the Shawnee Heights district gained four female board members, making the majority of seven members, female. Three of these women are new to the board, Renae Grame-Hansen, Erica Price and Rosa Cavazos. The fourth being Lauren Tice Miller.

When I was elected, I was the seventh woman ever elected to our district’s school board. I believe it’s a significant milestone for our district,” Miller said.

In August 1920, women got the right to vote. In November 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote during the presidential election. Today, we see women in leadership positions everywhere.

“It has validated the importance of having diversity in leadership.I think it will also demonstrate to students that anyone can hold elected office and serve in leadership roles,” Miller said.

Junior, Sophie Brazington gave a TED talk titled “Our own femininity” in April. TED talks, meaning Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Having the opportunity to speak at a TEDX event is exceptional, especially for a high school student. In her talk, she describes what it’s like to be a female in modern day society along with gender roles and expectations.

“I hope that [women in leadership] is more accepted and celebrated,” Brazington said.

Brazington hopes to go into politics and try to make the world a better place with her knowledge and voice as she has impacted the school community. She recently applied to Leadership Greater Topeka.

“Right now, I want to focus on doing more local work and trying to figure out what it means to be a mature and intelligent leader,” Brazington said.

Recently, the middle school offered an opportunity to seventh grade girls, called ‘Women in Science’. Danielle Mott, a seventh grade science teacher, took 40 young girls to this event. It was held on Washburn campus and each student was treated like any professional would be treated at a conference.

“The reason Shawnee Heights is always in, is because Sherri Monhollon, your assistant principal, she was the women in science teacher for seventh grade. She’s actually the one who found it, I’ve just carried on her tradition,” Mott said.

While participating in the activities offered by the trip, the girls also got to understand the importance of being a powerful female. Activities included an opening experiment involving DNA from the girl’s’ cheek cells. The girls then moved to separate groups they chose to participate in.

“I kind of want to be student of the month to prove I can do it,” Rachel Donaldson, a student that attended Women in Science, said.

Along with the women in science trip, the middle school also has a Leadership studies class for eighth graders to participate in. This class is taught by Danielle Bergman.

“Every year girls seem more interested in my class than boys. This year, I have the greatest amount of boys, which is seven,” Bergman said.