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Mentoring group shows girls they can achieve, lead, succeed

Foam tubes and tape quickly turned into marble roller coasters with drops and loops during the meeting of the G.A.L.S. group at Vicksburg High Friday.

G.A.L.S., which stands for Girls Achieving, Leading & Succeeding, is a new mentoring program created for at risk girls that started at VHS this year. The group was created in Rolling Fork three years ago and offers monthly programs to a group of girls as well as mentoring and academic support.

“I started this mentoring program about three years ago in Rolling Fork for South Delta High School girls,” Teresa Jones, the founder of G.A.L.S. said. “My whole vision for it initially was for us to create an organization where young, at risk girls can connect with people in the field they are interested in or connect with mentors who can help them with their high school career.”

The program was brought to Vicksburg this school year by new principal Angela Johnson, who has previous experience with G.A.L.S’s partner The Pyramid Project while in Hollandale. The group at Vicksburg consists of 25 girls who were selected by the Johnson and the school counselor.

“What I am seeing is a greater understanding of the different types of careers that are available not just to young men, but to young ladies as well,” Johnson said. “I think the most impactful aspect of this program is that it is of women for young women. What I am seeing is they are more inquisitive about what it would take to go into this field, is this is an area I might qualify for.”

Friday’s meeting was the second for the group at Vicksburg this school year and focused on STEM and engineering careers. The guest speaker was Emily Wall, an industrial engineer at ERDC. The project for this month’s meeting was to build a marble roller coaster using foam tubes, tape, scissors and whatever the room had to offer.

The goal was to teach teamwork to the girls while introducing them to STEM.

“I heard a girls group was coming to the school and we need more clubs and girl groups to bring us together because I feel like high school we don’t all get along,” Jordan Davis, the president of the group, said of why she got involved. “It is a chance to bring girls together and do some of the same things we all love. I can build my leadership skills. The girls work together and we are learning about teamwork and to better ourselves.”

The program for each month’s meeting changes and the group will also be taking college tours and working to apply to fly in programs, which are short term programs provided to high school students by elite universities throughout the country.

“We are learning to grow and put this small thing in place where we have these programing events, we contact them, we contact their parents, we offer them these opportunities for exposure and these opportunities for academic excellence,” Jones said. “Each month is a different topic. We’ll have financial literacy, self-care, academic exposure and a career panel. Every month is a different event.”

The group is also working to organize a Halloween themed skate party for late October to raise money to go on college tours.