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School Board Recognizes Girls Rock! Award winner

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School Board Recognizes Girls Rock! Award winner
Posted on 04/27/2017
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Madalena Rocha, an Ocean Avenue fifth-grader, was recently honored by the Portland Board of Public Education and Superintendent Xavier Botana for her work helping other students at her school.

At the board’s April 25 meeting, Madalena was recognized for receiving a Girls Rock! Award for Community Organizing at the 10th annual Girls Rock! event, held at Camp Ketcha on April 7. Girls Rock! awards honor Maine girls “who break stereotypes, challenge society and rock!”

Madalena was one of only six girls from around the state chosen to receive a Girls Rock! award this year. At age 11, she’s the youngest award winner.

The awards, given by Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a statewide nonprofit focused on girls' empowerment, fall into six categories. Madalena won in the Community Organizer category. That award 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.”

Here’s a summary of Botana’s remarks regarding Madalena: “Born in Angola, 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.”

Botana concluded: “Congratulations, Madalena, and thank you for all you do to create a positive, caring community at your school! The Portland Public Schools family is very proud of you!”