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HIDAYA NEO: ETA girls develop their ‘beautiful’ gifts

August 16, 2013

Jasmine Hiss (left) writes down the lessons she learned from six different workshops held for girls Thursday at Eagle Tech Academy. Hidaya Neo, meaning “beautiful gift,” was an all-day conference for students to gain valuable life skills from women within Whitley County. Post & Mail photo / Christie Barkley

COLUMBIA CITY — Eagle Tech Academy is known for its unconventional approach to high school education — focusing on interactive learning and collaborative presentations often given to leaders in the community.

However, tables turned Thursday when ETA girls took a seat while women from the community staged a series of workshops.

Hidaya Neo­ ­— meaning “beautiful gift” in Africa — was the name of the day structured to teach high school girls life lessons such as what to wear in professional and social settings, how to maintain healthy skin and hair, what defines quality relationships, how to make good choices and manage emotional stress as well as dinner and social etiquette.

Approximately 150 girls were broken into six small groups that cycled through each session during the school day.

“I think this was a great experience for the girls,” said Kim Waugh, school guidance counselor at ETA. “It gives them a chance to learn some great life skills, but it also allows them to connect to women from the community.”

Six students from ETA served as representatives, working hand-in-hand with a community member to develop each session.

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