Rock Lake Middle School club introduces girls to powerful women

By Jeff Allen, Seminole County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 07, 2017, 1:36 AM EDT

Some middle school girls are learning firsthand what it’s like to be women who work in some powerful positions in Central Florida.

  • Girls Unity Club at Rock Lake Middle School
  • Gives girls a chance to meet powerful Centrla Florida women

The Girls Unity Club at Rock Lake Middle School is opening some young ladies’ eyes to a future full of potential.

Central Florida Regional Hospital CEO Wendy Brandon shared her secrets of success with sixth, seventh and eighth grade girls in the club. Rock Lake’s principal says he formed the Girls Unity Club earlier this year to reach young women he believes are at a turning point in their lives.

“So with this club we are trying to surround them with as many positive female influences as we possibly can,” said Principal Jordan Rodriguez, Rock Lake Middle School.

Women on the county school board, in local law enforcement and even Kay Rawlins –- the co-founder of the Orlando City Soccer Club -- have all talked with the young women in the club. The group meets regularly during homeroom, with frequent speakers coming to visit.

It was clear the hospital CEO’s message made an impact.

“It makes me feel like I could work there one day and be like her,” said student Aliyah Shipley.

“Most of our world is ruled by men, like our president, everything that’s been happening. It’s just nice to see that a woman can lead a whole hospital,” said student Tatiana Smith.

Rodriguez says most of all, he wants the young ladies to know the importance of unity.

“They are infinitely more powerful if they support one another than try to tear each other down,” said Rodriguez.

“You don’t have to pick somebody else apart to show how strong you are, but when we support each other we can achieve so much more,” said Brandon.

The Girls Unity Club is the first of its kind in Seminole County, but the school’s principal says he hopes it can become a model for more groups like it at other schools.