Ajax High School hosts Queens on the Rise – a female empowerment event
This past May, Ajax High School students in Grades 9 and 10, and Grade 8 students from Ajax HS’s feeder schools (Bolton C. Falby Public School, Cadarackque PS, Carruthers Creek PS, Duffin’s Bay PS, Lakeside PS, Lord Elgin PS, Roland Michener PS, and Southwood Park PS) took part in their own female empowerment event called Queens on the Rise.
The purpose of the event is the help female youth develop self-esteem, build confidence, and grow their sense of identity.
“Queens on the Rise is such an important event for our female students to have the opportunity to engage with their peers, Ajax HS staff, community partners, and to foster a sense of belonging to the Ajax HS community,” explains Kaitlin Ireland, Teacher at Ajax HS and organizer of the event.
With over 70 students and 15 staff gathered at Ajax HS, attendees visited community partner booths, engaged in workshops, and heard from guest speaker Cristal Hines.
Students mingled with community partners such as: Carea Community Health Centre, Girls Inc., Our Place Youth Hub, Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham, and Arts on Fire Ajax.
Hines is a spoken word artist who shared her story of confidence-building and self-healing with students. “We are talking about being a queen and securing confidence from the inside out, and confidence is built when we invest in our talents, our gifts, and our competencies,” says Hines.
Participants had the opportunity to choose two of the following five workshops throughout the evening: Build Like a Girl – Woodworking, Healthy Relationships, Paint Nite, Latin Groove, or Hairstyling.
In the Woodworking session, girls learned about the skilled trades while creating their own piece of wooden art.
In the Hairstyling activity, the pros from Durham Hairstylist Academy taught participants how to style and care for their hair like a queen.
Ireland says she was blown away by the amount of support the event received from school administration, teachers, and student volunteers. “To see our student organizers assisting throughout the night and interacting with other girls, was a great experience. Their drive and commitment to their school and community is inspiring.”
Ireland adds, “The laughter and smiling faces spoke for themselves. We are so pleased with the response and are excited to bring Queens on the Rise to our students again next year.”