All of Teen Voices’ teen editors and mentors gathered with staff at Boston’s Calderwood Pavilion on August 18 for the Summer 2009 Awards Ceremony. It was great to have everyone together to celebrate the accomplishments of the girls who worked with us during the summer program!
Program director Saun Green and peer leaders Judelle, Tina, and Sally led the order of ceremonies, bringing each mentoring group up one at a time to receive their certificates of completion and get their “superlative” award.
The teen editors worked on some really exciting content for Teen Voices Online and the fall print issue. With guidance from their mentors, they focused on pressing issues, including the college admissions process, the portrayal of women in the media, women in male-dominated careers, and art made by teen girls in prison. Others had the opportunity to focus on our Dear D advice column, reviews, and creative writing submissions. Be sure to keep an eye out for the awesome articles and art that the girls worked on!
At the awards ceremony, the teen editors and their mentors read paragraphs to each other that pointed out highlights from their summer of work and fun. This was a chance for them to recognize the friendships that they had built…and the audience got a case of the warm fuzzies, responding with an “Awwww!” after each reading. Here’s an example of the remarks the teen editors and mentors wrote for each other:
From Teen Sasha to Mentor Courtney:
“Courtney, you have been such an amazing mentor. From bringing us amazing food — from peanut-butter pretzels to Italian cookies — you always kept our palettes entertained. But not only that—you kept us entertained as well. You kept the article on track, but we still managed to have fun. From the first day on, with the M&M game, we all knew you were going to be a great mentor. I actually remember you leaving and Jocelyn, Kassandra, and I all being like, “She’s so cute!!” From going to the park to browsing through H&M, we always had a good time. Though I have to say that our sleepover is definitely my favorite memory of the session, having trouble getting on the train, asking Peter questions about Kassandra’s love life, trying to scare you with Nathalie’s creepy voice—these are all memories that I will treasure. Thank you so much for being an awesome mentor, Courtney!!”
From Mentor Courtney to Teen Sasha:
“If there were a Match.com for friends, I think I would get paired up with Sasha based on interests alone. She shares my love of Urban Outfitters, M&Ms, and Regina Spektor. She, like me, is a huge Johnny Depp fan. We both love writing, reading and desire to travel the world. Just by reading her profile, I would think Sasha was a pretty cool girl. However, the real reasons I have come to admire Sasha would not fit in a Match.com profile.
She is perceptive. Whenever we would sit in groups, Sasha always made a point to play “gatekeeper” in our conversations. If any one of us was being quite or withdrawn, Sasha would ask us a question and try to engage everyone in the discussion. She is dedicated. Whether it’s staying loyal to her bank account, summer reading, friends, or even to herself, Sasha has the maturity and responsibility of someone far beyond her years. With Sasha, it is easy to forget she is only 14. She is wise. Though I’m sure many of her classmates share Sasha’s books smarts, she surpasses them in worldly knowledge. Her appreciation for literature, independent films and other cultures reveals an intelligence that reaches far beyond the classroom.
Sasha, my favorite memory of you is when you were on the Internet and you casually said “Hmm, maybe I should be a lawyer.” Just like that, as if it was the most natural and easy thing in the world. And if you woke tomorrow and said, “I think I’d like to win a Pulitzer Prize,” I would believe you could. Sasha, it is because of your insight, loyalty, and wisdom that you will succeed in whatever you do. Not just in your career, but in your life.”
Lots of family members attended the ceremony, too, and it was great to see them in the audience supporting their favorite teen girl! It was a fun summer evening to remember – and Teen Voices is extra proud of all the teen editors and mentors for their hard work and good humor!