Tag Archives: Cherry Creek High School

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Gwyneth Ormes, Centennial, “Project Blastoff”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I developed and implemented a program to teach computer science to 4th grade girls. I ran my program (one day a week for four weeks) at Willow Creek Elementary School in the spring of 2017.  Nine girls attended my program and I taught them Processing (a basic programming language) along with the general foundational concepts of computer science.  Statistics show that there are very few women as compared to men in STEM careers, but this imbalance is especially evident in computer science. Survey data from 2011 indicates that only 18% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science were earned by women compared to 42% in mathematics and statistics. (https://www.ncwit.org/infographic/3435 ). In order to combat this issue, I wanted to introduce elementary school girls to computer science early, show them that computer science can be fun, and encourage them to pursue it in the future.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

The most important goal for my project was to make sure that the girls had fun. I know that I succeeded in this goal because all of the girls were asking me to come back and teach them again next year.  In addition, I received emails from parents who thanked me for running the program, wished they had been able to participate in a similar program when they were younger, and let me know that they really thought that this workshop was meaningful.  Next year, I will help in implementing the program again with the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club.  Since Willow Creek Elementary feeds into Cherry Creek High School, the Tech Club will also keep track of the number of girls in the various computer classes at Cherry Creek High School to track the lasting impact of the project.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I was happy to have received a letter of commitment from the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club and club’s advisor, which stated that the Tech Club will continue to teach this program to elementary school girls at Willow Creek in the future. The club as also been given copies of all of the materials I created, in addition to a teacher’s manual that I wrote, in order to continue the project. Next spring, the Tech Club will run the program and though I will not be leading the project again, I will be involved to help keep the project running. I reached out to other high schools about getting this project running at their local elementary schools. This year, students at Grandview High School are running my program at Liberty Middle School, which is a big step in getting more girls involved in computer science especially within the district.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

I created a webpage, hosted by the Cherry Creek High School Tech Club, which describes my project and hosts all of my materials. The webpage provides information on how to run the project so that anyone can start up this program with their local elementary school. The materials are shared under the Project Blastoff tab at http://www.cchs.tech/project-blastoff/.  I also posted this information in the NCWIT (National Center for Women in Information Technology) Aspirations in Computing Facebook group. NCWIT is a national organization for women in computer science. Members of the group include high school winners of the Aspirations in Computing Award. Their Facebook page is the perfect place to share this information with other girls who can make a difference and run this program at their local school. I have contacted local high schools and encouraged them to get their individual technology related clubs interested in running my program at their feeder elementary or middle schools. This year, Grandview High School will be hosting my program at Liberty Middle School, which was exciting news!

What did you learn about yourself?

One important realization I came to after participating in this project is that I really I enjoy teaching.  I want to study cybersecurity in college, but I have also been thinking about eventually working in computer science education. Right now, I am not planning on becoming a teacher immediately after college, but now I know that I enjoy teaching and I may decide to teach in the future. In addition to discovering a fondness for teaching, I have also developed my presentation skills during this project. I am a more confident and I have become a better public speaker as a result of completing my Gold Award.  I learned that when I practice my presentations over and over again out loud, I get better and I do not trip over my own words as frequently. Most importantly, I learned that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small the action may appear at the time. Even though I only taught computer science to nine girls, I feel that I made a difference in their lives. I have introduced them to computer science, encouraged them to continue studying it, and helped them visualize it as possibility for their future.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

This project gave me a huge opportunity to pursue my passions and develop my leadership skills. I had more fun than I anticipated in developing the materials and presenting them to the students. The project also put me in a position to lead other Tech Club members in the delivery of the classes. I had to convey my vision to them and keep them working toward that vision. This experience will give me confidence whenever I am in the position of leading peers in the future.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

My Gold Award was the most important part of Girl Scouting for me because it pushed me do something bigger. Nowhere else in Girl Scouts can you do something that has such a big an impact on the community. Being able to complete a project on my own that had an impact on others made my project one of the most important things I have done in Girl Scouting. With my Gold Award, I was able to teach something I really care about and get these girls excited about computer science.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Earning my Gold Award helped me become an innovator. To run my workshops, I wrote all of my own course materials and created my own webpage. None of the materials I needed existed already so I had to create them. I think this was a really important experience because it allowed me to design a project that I was really interested in. The work was really worth it because I was able to make my project exactly what I envisioned. Being an innovator during your Gold Award is important because it gives you the freedom to make your Gold Award your own.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org

Girl Scout Gold Award project: Victoria Delate, Centennial, “Self-defense gold”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

For my Gold Award, I addressed the problem of sexual assault by developing a course that taught high school students how to be more aware of their surroundings and defend themselves if needed. Deciding to act, I created a four-week self-defense course for Cherry Creek High School. Teaming up with Big Sisters and Dr. Keogh, Cherry Creek’s activity director, I invited anyone, students and staff, to attend the course and learn. The first week was an introduction to the problem and prevalence of sexual assault. We discussed sexual assault statistics for American women and men, on college campuses in the U.S., and globally. Then, we talked about why self-defense and self-empowerment are needed for self-protection. And finally, we discussed some basic steps to keep oneself safe. The second week a professional Krav Maga instructor from Evolve Martial Arts came to teach about awareness of one’s surroundings and self. Krav Maga is a self-defense system developed by the Israeli Defense Forces. As part of the second session, we did hands-on exercises that involved students learning to practice being passive, aggressive, and assertive in a confrontational setting, and how best to portray oneself in a threatening situation. While the skills taught were basic, they were effective. The third week a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE nurse) from Aurora Medical Center presented the steps people should take if they or someone they know is sexually assaulted. The SANE nurse talked about how one should not take a shower after the crime, but should come directly into the hospital to collect evidence through a physical examination. The SANE nurse explained that this type of evidence collection will allow for the most solid case against the perpetrator. Furthermore, support is available through emotional counseling, and pregnancy and disease prevention are initiated during the examination. Although this was the most emotionally difficult day, it provided valuable knowledge on how to proceed after a sexual assault occurs. And finally, the fourth course was taught by the Krav Maga instructor again, but this time he demonstrated and taught basic Krav Maga techniques that can be applied against an assailant. The students learned and practiced techniques on how to harm an assailant so that they might escape a threatening situation. All four sessions taught the participants new skills and knowledge to prevent and negotiate unsafe situations.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

To determine the effectiveness of the school-based self-defense course, I collected information from student participants by using a seven question pre- and post-survey. The survey asked students about their knowledge regarding sexual assault and how confident they were in their knowledge and skills to prevent and/or handle an unsafe situation. Using a scale from one to five, with one being “don’t agree” and five being “strongly agree”, 15 students completed the pre-survey at the beginning of the first session and 16 students completed the post-survey at the end of the fourth session. All responses were anonymous. Data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet and mean values were calculated for the average of each question by pre- and post-surveys.

The first question asked if the participant was confident in his/her knowledge of how to keep oneself out of an unsafe situation. Before the courses, the average answer was a 3.5 out of five, meaning they had some knowledge, but not a lot. Post course the average was 4.6 out of five, meaning they felt much more comfortable in their knowledge. The second question asked if the participant believed he/she has the skills to recognize an unsafe situation. The pre average was 4.2 out of five, and the post was 4.5 out of five. These results suggested that before the course the participants had confidence in themselves, by the end, there was minimal change. The third question asked if the participant had the basic skills to get oneself out of an unsafe situation, and the pre-test averaged at 2.6 out of five, while the post averaged 4.3 out of five. At the beginning, participants believed that they had proficient skills to escape, but by the end they felt that they had gained skills to escape. This gap between the pre and post was the largest area of growth for all the skills taught. The fourth question asked if the participant would be able to communicate to a date, friend, or stranger clearly so that the other person understood the participant’s physical boundaries. The pre-test averaged at 3.6 out of five and post-test averaged 4.7 out of five meaning they felt they had gained communication skills. The fifth question asked if the participants believed that sexual assault is common among teens their age, the pre averaging at 4.1 out of five and the post averaging 4.7 out of five. This displayed that even though the participants might not have known what to do, they could recognize that sexual assault is a prevalent problem. The sixth question asked if the participant knew the legal steps to take in case the participant or a friend had been sexually assaulted. Pre averaged at 3.3 while post averaged at 4.7 showing that they did learn more of the legal steps to take. The final question asked on the pre-test was if there were any questions or comments, none being received, and the post asked if there were any comments which there were several of:

  • So Helpful!
  • Thank You!
  • Great class! Knowledgeable instructors and great content
  • Thank you so much for putting this together! You (and the course) were great!
  • Thank you Victoria! I learned a lot!

The only negative comment received was from the only male who participated and he voiced that this course my not be the best for males; this may have been because he was uncomfortable being the only male there. So, overall the course was helpful and received very well.

Statistics show that sexual assault is a huge problem among Americans especially students. There is a need to provide knowledge and skills to prevent sexual assault, and if necessary, to get out of an unsafe situation. This course addresses this need though the Big Sisters club at Cherry Creek High School. By teaching the participants about their surroundings, how to keep safe, and some techniques to get out of an unsafe situation, students became more prepared to keep themselves safe as they become independent adults. Post-survey results demonstrate that this program was successful in increasing students’ confidence in their ability to communicate their physical boundaries to a date, friend, or stranger, to believe in their own ability to get themselves out of an unsafe situation, and to know the legal steps if they or a friend has been sexually assaulted. Such critical skills are important as students become adults.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

I set up my project at Cherry Creek High School through the Big Sisters organization. Big Sisters at Cherry Creek High School has agreed to continue this program in the coming year without my assistance running it.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

To link my project on the national/global level, I created a website that provides resources for someone else to incorporate this type of program into their community. The link is:  https://vrd319.wixsite.com/self-defense. The website includes research, the steps that can be taken to create a four-week self-defense course, a four-week course outline, a sample flyer, a course introductory presentation, a pre- and post-survey, and additional resources.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I like everything to be organized perfectly with no flaws, and go the way I plan it to go. However, no matter how much planning I do, things do not work out as I plan. Because of this realization, I became a better leader because now I am much more flexible. I know that life happens, and the best we can do is to go with the flow while continuing to work toward the goal.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

The Gold Award has impacted my learning path tremendously. Since I want to go to school to be a nurse, meeting and talking about the kind of work SANE nurses do has established an interest in that field of nursing in which I may decide to major.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

The Gold Award was an important part of my Girl Scout experience because it was the final piece of a 12-year journey. I started Girl Scouts as a young, inexperienced six-year-old girl and finished it as a wise and resourceful 18-year-old woman. The project I created incorporated all the skills I learned from Girl Scouts over the past 12 years, putting them into practice. It was a wonderful way to conclude one of the most imperative learning experiences of my life.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

Earning my Gold Award helped me become a go-getter because I started with a team of people who then did not follow through with my project and I was left with no team. I was a go-getter because I did not let this discourage me, but rather found a new team and kept going.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org