Brilliant Girls Rock
Attired in formal black dresses and holding pink roses, the 74 girls made their way into the school cafeteria and took their seats in covered, bowed chairs for the ceremony.
In just one year, the Brilliant Girls Rock Leadership Club at Ira Cross Elementary School in Killeen grew from 52 to 74 participants.
On Monday, the first day back from spring break, the group gathered after school for their formal induction ceremony, an “exchange of pearls” to mark the girls’ advancement in leadership.
Kaili Stanton, the school’s parent liaison, came up with the idea for the club last school year and it quickly took off.
“I saw the need for something different, something to teach girls leadership,” Stanton said following the ceremony. She contacted teachers on the campus, received support and input and put the club together.
Last school year and continuing through last semester, Brilliant Girls Leadership Club members took part in workshops to learn about etiquette, organized and administered charitable activity and came up with ways to spread positive messages at the school.
They have plans for more service activities this semester and a leadership group for boys is taking shape.
“I hope the girls continue to show their leadership skills,” she said. “We are already seeing that. They are more confident in front of people and when they introduce themselves.”
During the ceremony, Natasha Hollomom, a school staff member's daughter retired from service in the Air Force, urged girls to take advantage of their many opportunities to serve and lead, even as children.
One at a time, the girls received from adult leaders pearl necklaces, white ones for new members and pink and black ones for those in their second year of participation.
“It helps us learn to be a lady,” said fourth-grader Amelia Cervantes, one of several who read off the organization’s purpose to build leaders, promote sisterhood and develop high character.
She said the group’s workshops teach girls to be polite and respectful. “It feels good,” she said of receiving her pearls, “it shows we have been working hard.”
Third-grader Malaikha Smeltzer said she enjoyed the group service projects and workshops, including making cookies and having a tea party.
“We’ve learned about being respectful, having integrity and leadership. It feels really awesome,” she said. “It’s my second year. I’m a leader now.”