As most City Honors sophomores are working to finish up their Personal Projects, 16-year-old Skylar Cerbone is in control of her inspiring work’s finale. As part of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program at City Honors, sophomores are required to complete an eight-month-long project that includes themes ranging from community and service to health and social education.
After viewing the film “Girl Rising” last year, Skylar said she felt obligated not to forget what she had seen. The film follows the stories of nine girls and their struggle to get an education.
“I wanted to act on what I had seen,” she said. “I knew there could be a solution to the shocking problems taking place, and wanted to help by doing what I could.”
When she learned about the Personal Projects, a light bulb went on in Skylar’s head. Learning of the 66 million girls around the world who lack an opportunity to go to school motivated her to be dedicated to her project.
“I was so surprised by the facts I heard regarding women who are not educated because of the customs around them,” she said. “It made me realize the huge privilege I sometimes take for granted by attending such a rewarding school. The project was my gateway to spreading the word about an issue that females face globally.”
Through word of mouth, Skylar learned of Anne Wadsworth, executive director and founder of Buffalo’s Girls Education Collaborative. As part of a nonprofit organization whose core mission is to educate girls, Wadsworth was the perfect person for Skylar to contact to find ways to help. In the last year, Wadsworth has been involved with another screening of “Girl Rising” and has been working on the group’s latest project – building a school for young girls in the village of Kitenga in Tanzania, Africa. The Kitenga Village Project shares, with the film, a common goal of getting females an education.
By connecting with this local group, Skylar was able to gain strong support for her project.
To help “inspire others to take part in the matter,” Skylar’s goal was to raise enough money for a screening at City Honors. By fundraising and sending out emails encouraging donations, she was able to obtain the necessary funds to get the movie.
“I refused to be the bystander in this terrible situation when education is such a huge part of my everyday life,” she said.
“Girl Rising” will be shown from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at City Honors, 186 E. North St. Wadsworth will provide a brief introduction. It is a “pay what you can” event with all proceeds going to the Kitenga Village Project. For more information on the Girls Education Collaborative or the Kitenga Village Project, visit www.girlsedcollaborative.org.
Alexa Rosenblatt is a sophomore at City Honors.