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Girls R.I.Z.E. Empowerment March

March 12, 2019 - Student Success

Statistics indicate that 30% of girls with a GPA of 4.0 or better do not believe they are smart enough to pursue their dream career. In an effort to bridge this gap, and empower girls within Hillsborough County, HCPS Outreach and School Improvement Full Service Centers hosted an empowerment march during Women’s History Month in downtown Tampa.

This march united a diverse group of 200 girls representing schools from across the district, mentoring groups and women from all walks of life who are trailblazers, local and state leaders.

Students marched down the streets of downtown escorted by chaperones and Tampa Police Officers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Captain Fear and cheerleaders from Tampa Bay Lightning, and chanted ‘Who runs the world? Girls!” as they made their way to the George Edgecomb Courthouse to stop for a photo with the Lady Justice statue. The streets were filled with bright orange backpacks bags donated by Suncoast Credit Union, and inside those bags were donations from Dunkin' and Chick-Fil-A

Girls made bright, colorful signs for the march to share inspirational messages— “Be you, Dream Big”, “Bold is the new Beautiful”,” We are chosen women of purpose”, “I R.I.Z.E. to the challenge”, and “I am empowered, I am intelligent.”

They then made their way back to ROSSAC’s School Board Auditorium full of powerful female role models, including representatives from Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s and Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services Nikki Fried’s office, both shared words of encouragement, along with The Honorable Cheryl Thomas, and pro golfer and instructor, Alice Brown. The founder of Women of Color Golf, Clemmie Perry, and former school board member Doris Reddick was in the audience along with staff members from our friends at the Hillsborough Education Foundation. 

Former Hillsborough County school board member Doretha Edgecomb, was also in attendance and got all of the girls up out of their seats to scream, “I am R.I.Z.E., I am Intelligent, I am zealous, I am empowered and I got this!”

Doris Reddick, was also in attendance with her family, she was the elected to the Hillsborough County School Board becoming the first African American woman to hold that position and two years later was unanimously elected as chair.

The intent of the march was to show solidarity towards the importance of educating, valuing and empowering our girls and young ladies to think big, dream big, stand for greatness and never be afraid to make the first move.

Our school board members and Superintendent Eakins joined the girls while they enjoyed lunch, and took time take photos with each of the schools represented.

They were all left with this message from Hillsborough County Public Schools Supervisor of International Studies, Melissa Morgado. She encouraged each girl to look at the person next to her and say, “You are strong. You are intelligent. You will be successful!”

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