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On 11th December 2019, girls from Great Sankey High School (www.greatsankey.org) attended a ceremony to charter their newly-formed SOROPTISTARS School Club.
This initiative grew out of the ongoing collaboration between the Warrington-based High School and Soroptimist International of Warrington (www.sigbi.org/warrington), a women’s volunteer organisation that works in the community to transform the lives of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. Founded in the USA in 1921, there are currently around 75,000 members in 122 countries, and there has been a Soroptimist Club in Warrington since 1945. The School Club project is intended to support young women in developing leadership and organizational skills and to build greater social awareness which will prepare them to become truly global citizens as they mature.
Since 2017 the collaboration has resulted in two annual STEM events for 60+ girls in Year 9, in the run-up to their selection of GCSE subjects. The half-day session, generously hosted by United Utilities plc (www.unitedutilities.com) at their Lingley Green site, provides girls with an opportunity to meet graduates and apprentices of six diverse companies and hear from them what kind of career possibilities are on offer if they pursue subjects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at GCSE-level and beyond. A third STEM event is planned for early 2020; each year these STEM events evolve further, and now include a follow-up workshop at the school, led by United Utilities staff, where the girls are asked to come up with solutions to current environmental challenges facing the North West’s water company.
The new School Club, under the guidance of both teachers and the Warrington Soroptimists, will pursue numerous community-oriented projects, raising money for good causes and raising awareness on issues which the girls themselves identify. The 16 founder members, who came up with the club name “Soroptistars”, have already held a bake sale, raising £73.50 for the charity Freedom for Girls (https://www.freedom4girls.co.uk) which campaigns against period poverty and provides sanitary products to women and girls in the UK, Kenya and Uganda. There is also an ongoing project to collect clothes for the charity Clothe Me – Thank You (https://www.clothemethankyou.com). Other projects are planned for the new year, including support for the charity Beads of Courage UK (www.beadsofcourageuk.org) which supports families coping with the severe illness of a child.
Great Sankey High School fully supports the School Club. Shona Williams, Teacher of Science and lead teacher for the initiative, commented: “Being a part of the School Club will nurture key skills such as event organisation, communication and team building, which the girls have already demonstrated in abundance. The School is very proud of what the Soroptistars have achieved so far, and we look forward to seeing great things from them as the Club’s activities develop.”
For more information, contact Jackie Alexander of Soroptimist International of Warrington (Email: email@example.com).