By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
In a world still often dominated by men, state Rep. Terri Austin urged female seniors at Anderson Preparatory Academy to “think big” and have confidence as they head out into the real world.
APA hosted its inaugural Senior Girls Luncheon Tuesday afternoon at the 29th Street campus. There are 49 graduates in APA’s first graduating class and 25 of them are female.
The goal, said APA’s Paula Timmons, who planned the event, was to inspire the female students and help them embrace their strengths.
“It’s hard for girls to find a strong woman to say ‘I can help you,’” she said.
Austin told the students they’ll have to “go the extra mile” to achieve the same kind of success they’ve had in high school in college or the real world.
“Although women make up 52 percent of the population, we are woefully underrepresented,” she said.
Out of 190 heads of state across the country, only nine are females and women only make up 15 percent of the nation’s CEOs and 20 percent of the nation’s nonprofit leaders, she said.
“It’s not because men make better leaders, but because we as women often sell ourselves short,” Austin added.
She shared some of her own challenges along with some of those her mother faced and asked the students to constantly push themselves, take risks, own their successes and “know there’s no limit to what you can do.”
She said graduating from high school is a “tremendous accomplishment,” but that it’s also “just the first step.”
Senior Aniyah Birdsong said Austin’s message was one of reassurance.
Even in high school, she said, girls sometimes “feel like our goals are repressed in a way” but that she wants to overcome society challenges.
Winter Broshar said the presentation “helped me understand my place in the world” and that she feels better about accomplishing the goals she has. She wants to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Austin told the girls they can make an impact in the world if they just think beyond their community and believe in themselves.
Paraphrasing a popular proverb, she reminded them that fortune favors the bold, not the timid.
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