In the beginning of the school year, when most sophomores would be concerned about biology and what it feels like to not be the youngest at school anymore, Shaily Acharya is an exception.
Acharya created a club called “She’s the First,” which promotes girls’ education and equality in developing countries. The club participates in fund-raisers to support the National Headquarters which, in return sponsors girls in developing countries to help give them education. “She’s the First” is a branch of a national chapter that gives Acharya and the other members resources to run it here. The club involves doing activities to raise money and awareness about the issue. Currently 25 people are in the club and the sponsor is English teacher Sarah Debnam.
The club and national organization are named “She’s the First” because the girls who are getting the money are the first in their families to be able to have an education. The officers of “She’s the First” are all by sophomores, Acharya being the president, Nicole Deprey the vice president and Juliana Parra the treasurer.
The club is important to Acharya for reasons including that her mother was the first in her family to receive an education. Besides her mother, “girls’ education has always been important to me because that’s like half the young people growing up, who in third world countries don’t even have an education.”
Recently “She’s the First” was invited to a panel at the White House with Michelle Obama as the speaker to talk about education and equality in developing countries. Guests at this panel included girls from different countries and charter schools featuring Peru, Tanzania, Jordan and England. The panel “had internet personas come and talk a mini panel about the impact they are making on the world involving the issue. Another panel included Michelle Obama, the editor of Glamour magazine and Yara Shahidi from the show Black-ish,” Parra said.
The “She’s the First” national organization only had about seven seats at the panel, so they emailed the chapter areas from around the D.C. area, and both Acharya and Parra got to go.
Each member in the club may have had a different reason for joining, but in the end they all have the same goal: to give back to those less fortunate. “The club gives you hope about the amazing things that are possible for girls and empowers us to help in any way,” junior Amritha Sridhar said.
The club has hopes of making an impact on girls’ lives and helping to give them the education they deserve. “I think what we are doing is the only way the world is going to change,” Acharya said.