Ocean Avenue Elementary School student Madalena Rocha has won a Girls Rock! Award for Community Organizing.
The fifth-grader will receive her award on Friday, April 7, at the 10th Annual Girls Rock! Awards ceremony, which honors girls around Maine “who break stereotypes, challenge society and rock!” That ceremony is an annual fundraiser for Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a statewide nonprofit focused on girls' empowerment. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough.
Girls from all over the state are nominated for the Girls Rock! Awards, and Madalena, 11, was one of only six girls chosen to receive one this year.
Awards are given in six categories. Madalena won in the Community Organizer category, which is given to a girl who “sees the importance of a united community and is making it happen by bringing together her school, peers, and/or community.”
Madalena, who was born in Angola, won for her work helping other new Mainers and promoting civil rights. Here’s how she is depicted in Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s description of this year’s award winners:
“Madalena was new to the country when she was a kindergarten student. Now, as a fifth-grader, she returns to the kindergarten class daily to work with some of her school’s most vulnerable students: those who are new to the country and new to the school community. With her gentle approach and command of multiple languages, Madalena makes these young students feel welcomed and successful. Madalena shows incredible empathy and caring and skill as she teaches and inspires confidence in these students. Additionally, she is an active member of her school’s Civil Rights Team and works with the group to make the culture of the school one of acceptance and inclusion. Madalena is busy organizing an accepting school culture for her and her classmates to learn and grow. “
The five other award categories are: Title IX Champion; Health Promoter; Against the Odds Advocate; Entrepreneur; and STEM-gineer.
For more information, visit: hghw.org