By Assistant Head of School for Academics David Long
Since kindergarten, Catie Carson ‘20 has been a Girl Scout, an organization she loves due to the strong relationships she has made with the girls in her troop. Catie recently received her Gold Award in Girl Scouts, the highest award a girl can earn, through a rigorous program that required her to create something that makes a positive, sustainable impact on the world.
After watching a Hawaii Five-O episode involving human trafficking, Catie came to the realization that many people struggle with unhealthy relationships which can have a detrimental impact on a person’s psyche. Catie also concluded that due to her young age, there is a good chance that one of her peers will experience an unhealthy relationship and soon decided to make this cause the focus of her Gold Award project.
In the fall of 2018, Catie came up with the idea of using plays as a means to inform people about the impact of unhealthy relationships. She talked to Upper Learning Theatre Teacher Megan Cramer, and Ms. Cramer provided Catie the opportunity to have a psychologist talk to her playwriting class about unhealthy relationships. Along with Catie, students proceeded to write short plays that focused on unhealthy relationships. Catie then talked to her friends and asked for volunteers to act in the shorts. They filmed and edited five scenes that they then hosted on Youtube; she was even able to have a professional animator enhance the scenes in one of the plays. One of the plays was also shown at Upper Learning Town Hall.
In the spring of 2019, Catie held two seminars in Smyrna focusing on unhealthy relationships for students. Seminars included a digital presentation, games and activities, and a self-defense class led by the Smyrna police. Catie then hosted all of her information online, created a PSA video (watch here), and shared it with students. She also created a QR code to the Youtube video and shared her materials with Galloway’s UL counselor, Sylvette Bullard. In addition, she used social media, pamphlets, and personalized letters to promote her PSA video via a QR code.
Not only did Catie complete her Gold Award, she created a lasting program for her peers that provides important information on the topic of unhealthy relationships.