CHS Students Participate in Leadership Program

By Kaileigh Deacon


The first group of girls selected for the Olympia Snowe Women's Leadership Institute are Mackenzie LaPointe, Kelsey LaCoote, Mackenzie Bennett, Katie Erskine, and Adida Edwards. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon).

High School is a trying time for many girls who have trouble with self esteem. The Olympia Snowe Women’s Institute’s mission is to elevate the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them build the leadership, collaboration and problem solving skills needed to become successful in their lives, families, careers, and communities according to their mission statement.

This program is in its second year having run its pilot year last school year and has expanded to include at least one school from each county across the state of Maine. Calais was added to the program this year so five girls in their sophomore year were selected to participate. Based on the recommendations of faculty and staff five sophomores; Kelsey LaCoote, Mackenzie Bennett, Katie Erskine, Mackenzie LaPointe, and Adida Edwards, were selected.

“Students had to have good social and academic standing and leadership qualities but may not be using them to their potential,” Principal Mary Anne Spearin said.

O.W.L.s as the program is known, is a three year voluntary program that helps girls develop the confidence and skills for their future. The year’s are broken up into themes; year one (grade 10) is focused on values and defining what their personal values are, year two (grade 11) is for encouraging the girls to find their own for and making themselves heard, and year three is for the girls to find their vision and focusing on the future.

The benefits of the O.W.L.’s program can be applied in High School and beyond. “The benefits help us with our leadership so that if we wanted to go and do student council or something we can,” Kelsey LaCoote said.

All the girls get something out of the three year program that they can take with them as the grow. “The biggest thing for me is the public speaking, being able to better communicate,” Mackenzie LaPointe said.

The program spans over the course of three years and adds five sophomores to the program each year. Mackenzie Bennett has some advice for girls who might be selected to the program in coming years. “If you get selected to do this you should do it. It’s a three year commitment but it’s worth it.”