Schools TEAM UP to
Empower Adolescent Girls
— Inspire girls to become positive women —
The ladies that attended the conference wore matching shirts that said “flawless.
MANSFIELD ISD | With the growing emphasis
on social media likes and the changing standards of
beauty, there’s a lot of pressure put on teenage girls in
Two Mansfield ISD counselors heard firsthand the
various stories of low self-confidence, so they set out
to let young women know their own worth.
“The young ladies who come into my office are
often talking about their low self-esteem, doing
things in regards to them wanting attention from
young men, and things of that nature,” said Candace
Chism, seventh-grade counselor at T.A. Howard Middle
School. “Or they’re coming in and just saying, ‘I don’t
think I’m beautiful. I don’t think anybody likes me.’”
Chism collaborated with Marcie Thomas, a coun-
selor at neighboring Cross Timbers Intermediate
School, to inspire girls to become positive women
through a half-day conference. Approximately 100
teenage girls from both campuses attended the Level
Up Girls Empowerment Conference on Jan. 10 at the
Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts.
There were four breakout sessions covering the
topics of self-image, mental health, hygiene and ca-
reer goals. The keynote speaker was former Miss Black
USA, Ocielia Gibson.
“I had an amazing time with the girls. What we did
is talk to them about being pretty ‘L.I.T.,’” Gibson said
22 | Mansfield ISD TODAY
after her presentation. “My philosophy and my recipe
for being L.I.T. is loving yourself, ignoring distractions
and turning towards your dreams and destiny.”
The girls who attended said they were able to
learn something new and open up about relevant
topics to adults who have been through the same
“I think it’s a really good thing to have for kids my
age and a little older because it’s something that we
don’t really like to talk about a lot,” said Rebekkah
Gorman, sixth-grader at Cross Timbers Intermediate
School. “And I feel like if we have people who have
come from that and can really explain it to us, that’d
be good for us.”
Thomas said she plans to continue the conference
in the years to come. In the meantime, she hopes to
see some immediate improvements in the attitude
and behavior of the newly empowered teenagers.
“Success to me would be me seeing these girls in
the hallway exuding what they’ve been taught,” the
counselor explained. “I’d love to see the girls affirm-
ing each other after this and staying away from the
The conference was for girls in grades 6 through 8.
The counselors said those who attended were chosen
directly by them, referred by other staff members or
showed great interest in the topics being discussed.