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Waukesha North High School transforms lives through girl empowerment program

Posted at 7:55 AM, Jun 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-04 12:55:59-04

WAUKESHA -- Forget the term 'mean girls.' Waukesha North High School replaced the in-crowd with compassionate young adults.

The sisterhood group is simply called Girl Talk.

It's about lifting girls up, inspiring them to forge their own path in life.

"I'm really insecure about myself and knowing people think that about me makes me happy," high school junior Yuri Robles said after an ice-braker exercise to compliment each girl in the group.

Sarahi Monterrey was the teacher who thought of creating this group while working in the district.

"When I started teaching at Waukesha South there were four students pregnant in our department," she said.

Girl Talk was created when she transferred to Waukesha North. It quickly evolved from self-esteem building to making a true difference in the community. This includes countless volunteer work. They also sell healthy smoothies in the school to provide scholarships to DACA students who do not qualify for federal aid.

"It feels good to help others," said Girl Talk member Vanessa Urgel.

This year they opened up the scholarship to any upcoming graduate in the school.

"It's important to empower each other rather than arguing about silly drama," said Monterrey.

Krystal Velasco believes this program helped her become a leader and now has a full tuition scholarship to UW-Madison this fall.

"Not a lot of clubs at [Waukesha] North have such a big focus on empowering women... especially Latina women," Velasco said.

Monterrey is Wisconsin's 2018-2019 High School Teacher of the Year and Wisconsin's 2019 Representative to the National Teacher of the Year program.

Click here to learn more about Girl Talk.