“I like to see people who are like me,” says 5th grade student Mia Gilliam. Last Spring, Mia attended the Black Girl Magic conference held at Madison College. Mia, who will be in 6th grade at Whitehorse Middle School in the fall, says she learned a lot at the conference. “I learned you’re not alone, you have other people like you and what Black Girl Magic really is,” she says. “It’s like African-American (girls) matter and they have intelligence. They’re smart.”
Mia loves math, reading and writing. In fact, she excels at math because she likes to solve things and says she feels “amazing” when she gets them right. Principal Sue Abplanalp says Mia is a leader and “everyone follows her.” Mia is part of the Lunch Bunch, a group of 4th and 5th grade girls who gather at lunch to give Principal Abplanalp suggestions for clubs at the school. “It’s fun to see other people’s ideas. You learn things from other people sometimes. You learn things from girls like you,” Mia says.
Mia is a creative who enjoys dancing and drawing. And she has her family to cheer her on. “They like to help me and give me confidence and make me happier,” she says. “It’s better having your family help you.” Mia also credits her friends, teachers and “Principal A” for supporting her.
This school year, Principal Abplanalp started a Scholar Celebration on Fridays for 5th grade students in which they received a reward if they turned in all of their homework. Abplanalp says this helped prepare them for middle school. Mia attended every one. “Schenk helped me grow, and learn what I need to do and get better at,” says Mia.