Lily Pickett

  • Student
  • Grade: 12th 
  • School:  Emma Willard
  • Location: Guilderland, New York

As part of a school project, Lily screened Wadley's story to third graders at Pinebush Elementary School and developed a lesson plan around the chapter to raise awareness of the barriers that prevent girls around the world from receiving an education and to increase students' appreciation of their own education. 

What was your goal in bringing Girl Rising to your school?

Overall, my goal was to educate students in my school district on the need for a movement toward the education of all women, and to engage with this important issue that has generally been overlooked in my experience. In targeting younger students with the Girl Rising curriculum, my goal was to help them to understand the true power of the education that they receive each day and the fact that a great number of girls are not afforded this power around the world. Having learned about this inequity during my own elementary education, I believed that it would be useful to activate these students toward positive world change as engaging with this topic at their age set me on a path to continue to seek out ways to help as I grew older.   

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How did you use Girl Rising?

The film was extremely helpful in creating a lesson plan as I was able to use the film’s chapters to animate and engage the students, while also teaching them to recognize education as a tool to alleviate other social issues. Girl Rising recognizes the power of a story, and the power of art and film to motivate others toward taking action, and I saw this to be true with the students.

What Girl Rising tools did you use (i.e. film, book)?

I used the film, specifically Wadley’s chapter. Wadley was about the same age as the students I was working with, which is why I felt this chapter was best suited to the lesson. I began by modeling my lesson off of the Encouraging Others lesson available on the Girl Rising website, though I deviated from the outline to help achieve some of the learning goals that I thought would be important for the students to grasp. After watching the chapter, students discussed the challenges that Wadley faced, and compared her story with their own experiences as a student. Finally, they recorded their answers to the question “Why is it important to go to school?” and shared their answers as a class.

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Wadley's chapter is free with the Girl Rising curriculum.


What was the impact of Girl Rising on your students?

The class was deeply engaged with Wadley’s story, and many were surprised to see the difficulties she faced to return to school. While some of the students said that they’d prefer to not have to go to school before we heard Wadley’s chapter, all of them revised this opinion at the end of the lesson. One student, in fact, approached me after we had finished the lesson to ask what she could do to help girls in similar situations to Wadley, and we discussed how to use persuasive writing to reach out to representatives letting them know of the import of this issue. She also remarked on how it felt to hear directly from a girl who had overcome this challenge, and how the film had affected her emotionally, and we talked about these other ways to affect social change, through story, film, poetry, and even visual art. Overall, I felt the lesson was very successful and I believe that the students walked away with a greater understanding of the place of education in our society as a right rather than a privilege, and the need to advocate for women’s education.