Women’s Empowerment Club celebrates a history of achievement

Women’s Empowerment Club celebrates a history of achievement

Thayer Academy’s student-led Women’s Empowerment Club (WEC) celebrated Women’s History Month by leading an informative and interactive March 25 assembly on some of the significant contributions women have made to society. 

“This month we honor the women who’ve pushed us to progress,” said Josette Chenaur ‘24, the club’s communications assistant, in her opening remarks. A short video followed that highlighted many such women, including: Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in the United States Congress; Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the United States Supreme Court; and Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator who in 2016 became the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major party in the United States. 

Sabrina Zeoli '24

Also addressing the audience that morning were Sabrina Zeoli ‘24, WEC founder and president; Sasha Cassamajor ‘24, WEC vice president; and Yasmin DeBlas ‘24, a WEC member as well as founder and president of Mi Gente, Thayer’s Latinx student affinity group. 

“I don’t want to merely live within a system,” said Zeoli, who noted how far the world still has to go to achieve true equality. “I want to be the one to change it.” 

Cassamajor emphasized the many voices to be heard in the women’s movement and encouraged a broadening of the conversation. “Feminism is not, and never will be, one-dimensional,” she said. 

For DeBlas, who has faced the challenges of cultural and social expectations even within her own family, the mission is ultimately one of creating choices. 

“Feminism is about letting every woman paint their own dreams,” said DeBlas, whose passion for education and unmistakable drive will soon make her the first person in her family to attend college. 

The theme of Women’s History Month 2024 is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” and the trio took turns discussing women who’ve made a difference in those areas. Recognized that morning were: Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist from MIT who was instrumental in developing the software for Apollo 11’s lunar landing; Melnea Cass, “The First Lady of Roxbury” who spent decades as a community organizer and civil rights advocate in Boston; Madam C.J. Walker, an American businesswoman and philanthropist who became the first black female self-made millionaire; and Emily Warren Roebling, who oversaw the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband, Washington A. Roebling, the project’s chief engineer, fell ill. 

Southworth Library Assistant Stephanie Rando ‘88 P ‘18, ‘20 serves as the club’s advisor. 

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