Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School held its fifth annual voice to voice women’s empowerment session on Dec. 11 with the goal of helping students find their strength and voice. They were joined by members of the district’s administration, faculty members and past honored speakers.
The day began with a powerful rendition of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” by the women’s Madrigal Choir, led by choir director Gina Occhiogrosso. Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School Assistant Principal Tamika Eason welcomed the powerful women in the room to the meeting.
“You are here because someone believed in you,” she said. “Because you took advantage of every opportunity offered to you. We hope to create a world where all women can shine.”
This year’s honored guest speaker was Aglaed Marcedo, foreign language teacher at Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. Marcedo spoke about many of the obstacles she faced growing up in Brooklyn, born in Puerto Rico to parents who didn’t speak much English. She spoke about her educational journey and the struggles she faced. But, she said, when she took the job as a leave replacement in Copiague, she knew she had finally found her calling.
“I found teachers I can look up to and aspire to be like,” Marcedo said. “I learned that it’s fine to make mistakes. I have found a career that I am passionate about and I learn every day from my colleagues and my students.” Her advice to the students: find your passion and your purpose and find lessons in the failures.
After a brief question and answer session, the students worked in teams and reflected on the lessons learned. Each team created a poster board and shared their thoughts in a brief presentation with their peers.