Reflections on the 2014 We Are Girls Conference

This blog post is a guest post by one of our high school leaders, Georgia Hernandez. Georgia is a senior at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. This past November, she served as the Co-Emcee at the 7th annual We Are Girls Conference, where she opened the event to around 1,700 people! She also served on a panel that GENaustin held for sponsors and other community leaders, with three of our other high school girls.

 

We asked Georgia to reflect on her experiences at We Are Girls this year. Here’s what she had to say!

 

My name is Georgia Hernandez; I am a senior at The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. I am weird and I love it, I embrace my inner-weirdness and I think I am pretty cool for it. I have been a part of GENaustin since I was in sixth grade. I volunteered in high school, was on the a panel at the We Are Girls Conference my Junior and Senior year, and this year I was one of the co-emcees.
The night before the conference I was actually at school for a sleepover hosted for the Ann Richards School’s sister schools that would be attending. I unfortunately lost track of time in the fun and went to sleep late so the day of the conference when my alarm set off, I looked at my phone, read “5:30 A.M.” and said “OMG the things I put myself into.”
But little did I know that in about four hours I would be living one of the highlighting moments of my life and making everlasting friendships. I arrived at Austin High and the rush kicked in, this rush of nervousness –not because I was scared, but because I was beyond excited. My mom was with me and she looked at me and said “Are you ready?” and like how she has taught me I said “Girl, I was born ready.” We shared one of our biggest laughs. After rehearsing, my support crew showed up (my dad, brothers and bestie, well more like my fave teacher lol) and many of the girls and their parents began showing up. I was actually beginning to get nervous but the second I stepped on that stage I looked around, saw my family, some girls from my school who attended and my new friends from the panel. That is when a rush of confidence and comfort kicked in and knew that this would be a life changing moment. And it surely was.

[The Panel participants, from left to right: Claudia Garate (GENaustin Program Coordinator), Keristen (freshmen), Ari (junior), Jacaria (sophomore), and Georgia (senior). Photo courtesy of Alina Tonu.]

[The Panel participants, from left to right: Claudia Garate (GENaustin Program Coordinator), Keristen (freshmen), Ari (junior), Jacaria (sophomore), and Georgia (senior). Photo courtesy of Alina Tonu.]

From being a part of the panel at the Conference, where High School GENaustin girls talk to funders and community leaders, I learned that it isn’t about the questions you are being asked, about what you answer, nor the audience response. But it is about the friendship you build with the young ladies that are right next to you. It is about the bond we form together while on that panel and the support we give each other. I am sure that these young ladies are the girls I will share laughs, tears and in special occasions my food with!

 

As an individual who loves to put herself out there, being asked to speak in public is no biggie. So when I was asked if I wanted to be one of the co-emcees I was beyond thrilled. I consider that my role as a citizen in my community is to be a leader; to be someone who seeks the bettering of others. I believe in the empowering of youth, which is exactly the purpose of the We Are Girls Conference. So when I was asked to be me and energize the crowd for a conference that I strongly believe in, I couldn’t help but feel honored.

 

A valuable family lesson I’ve grown up by is to be serve my community and those who have taken part in shaping me into the young woman I’ve become. That is exactly what GENaustin has done for me; they’ve shaped me into the bold young woman leader I am. So this was one of the many opportunities I hope to get to give back to this amazing program.

[The panel participants, GENaustin high school leaders, left to right: Jacaria, Ari, Georgia, and Keristen. Photo courtesty of Alina Tonu]

[The panel participants, GENaustin high school leaders, left to right: Jacaria, Ari, Georgia, and Keristen. Photo courtesty of Alina Tonu]

Vanessa Wright