Girls Empowerment Movement Returns


Courtesy of GEMfest

(From left) Junior Priya Bhakta, junior Anne Chen, junior Isabella Palacio, sophomore Raquel Rybakova and junior Alia Sajjadian.

Ava Eimani and Fiori Lee

Sage Hill School hosted GEMfest (Girls Empowerment Movement), welcoming middle school girls to focus on empowerment, learning new skills, and fun. Specifically, GEMfest is open to middle school girls in sixth through eighth grade who have the opportunity to learn and receive guidance from high school students. They also connect with female mentors working in various industries. A variety of skills are taught at GEMfest such as learning how to confidently talk in front of others and becoming motivated to persevere and chase one’s dreams. The middle schoolers were able to hear an inspiring keynote speech, learn about local businesses and nonprofit organizations and attend hands-on workshops teaching skills for success such as creativity and leadership. 

“Any event that promotes empowerment and serves as an inspiration for young girls is just amazing and I wanted my daughter to take part in that and I feel lucky that Sage provides opportunities like this,” said Ilham, a parent whose daughter attended GEMfest. 

After listening to the inspirational keynote speech, the girls separated into a myriad of workshops, which consisted of Public Speaking, GEM Team Panel, Confetti Lab, Yoga, Dancing with Synergy, Intro to Coding, How to Make Herstory, Be a Girl Boss, and Science Scoops. 

“I was happy to be able to dance with Synergy and I was really excited to hear the panelists,” attendee Sienna Burnette said.  

The event closed off with a diverse panelist of speakers including Dr. Amber Burnette, Assistant Medical Director at Kaiser Permanente Orange County; Celebrity Photographer Lesley Bohm; Sung-Hee Suh, Managing Director and General Counsel at PIMCO;  and Entrepreneur Tiffany Cheng Nyaggah. The panelists shared about their respective professions and gave advice and tips to the girls on how to succeed in a variety of career fields as a woman. 

After a fun and informative day of female empowerment, middle school girls went home knowledgeable on how to manage stress through yoga, how to dance in an ensemble, the fundamentals of Python coding and how to be a confident public speaker.