Let’s Make History With the “Women’s Division”

Members+of+St.+Benedict%27s+new+Girls+Division+take+a+water+break+during+a+workout.

Photo by Krithik Rajasegar

Members of St. Benedict's new Girls Division take a water break during a workout.

Yohangil Nolasco, Staff Writer

During one of the first virtual Convocations of Summer Phase on July 8, 2020, Headmaster Fr. Edwin Leahy ‘63, O.S.B., questioned whether the titles “boys” and “girls” are appropriate.  He then prompted the community to decide whether we should propose a new name for both divisions. This inaugurated a thought. Finally, I would have the opportunity to be referred to as what I really am. I  propose that we rename the Girls Division as Benedict’s “Women’s Division.”

As a young woman, I am aware that the terms “girl” and “woman” are simply used to distinguish gender and age difference. In extreme cases, however, the terms can be seen to be condescending.  So much is expected of us at present.  Our families, teachers, and communities have high expectations that we must handle a multitude of challenges, from academics and sports to activities.  We are expected to run the school and lead by example.  These are not the expectations of someone who is a girl.  It almost seems unfair to refer to us as girls in light of the great promise some perceive in us.  Believe it or not, we are going to live up to these expectations, regardless of those who have little faith in us.  Do what is right and give us the name commensurate with those high standards set for us.

I am not what society says I am. Because I am not yet eighteen, I am technically a girl. Girls are children and children by nature are immature and fragile.  I have long outgrown those characteristics. I am far closer to being a woman than a girl. My actions and principles define me far better than these vague terms. In fact, as a pioneer of the “Girls” Prep Division, I propose the use of a new definition for the word woman.  A woman is a female who acts with dignity, respect, and honor towards herself and others. She is someone who learns from her own experiences, leads by example, and is not afraid to admit her faults.  Consequently, one does not merely become a woman but learns how to be one.

With this new way of thinking about the word woman, I am not arguing that teenagers are full adults. What I am saying is that we are women at heart. We are women through our actions, in how we treat others, and in the respect we give to our Sisters. 

Now you may be asking yourself, what exactly does that look like ? Well, it looks like someone who is persistent, not a quitter; someone, as The Benedict Man’s Chant says, who “acts with dignity, respect and honor” towards herself and others and most importantly someone who “respects all walks of life.”  In other words, we are Benedict’s Women. We carry our name within the SBP community and society with dignity, respect and humility.

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