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Glenelg High's Emma Halley on empowerment mission [Glenwood/Glenelg/Dayton]

Emma Halley, a senior at Glenelg High School, was chosen to serve as a Girl Delegate for the United Nations 59th annual Commission on the Status of Women.

Emma and her mom Elizabeth spent a week in New York City attending sessions on women's rights, and listening to speeches by the Executive Director of United Nations Women, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and Hillary Clinton and Melinda Gates, among others. Empowerment of women and girls are issues which directly tie to Emma's mentorship project at Glenelg focusing on equality and women's rights.

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Emma applied to be a Girl Delegate through Girls Learn International. Completing an extensive application process with multiple essays led to her being selected as one of 45 delegates to represent girls from around the world and advocate for issues relating to girls.

Throughout the week Emma attended sessions in the U.N. that spanned the wide variety of issues women face like violence, health, education and women in the media. It was a life changing experience for her.

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Emma especially enjoyed being able to attend the screening of a movie called "Difret," which was produced by Angelina Jolie. The film tells the story of a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl who, while being abducted into marriage, kills her would-be husband, and is condemned to death. The resulting court case outlawed the kidnapping of child brides in the country. Emma describes the film as awe inspiring, and was especially impressed that the woman who inspired the film was present at the screening.

Emma's mentorship at Glenelg focuses on women's rights and advocacy. She has lobbied in Washington for the Equal Rights Amendment and runs a group for high school and middle school girls promoting the importance of education for girls.

Wendy Lesko, of School Girls Unite, which focuses on educating girls around the world, primarily in Mali, and Linda Smith, the vice president of United4Equality, a group that lobbies for the ERA, serve as her mentors.

Emma says, "My mentorship is so much fun and it allows to me to learn and grow every day; not to mention it gives me amazing opportunities like being able to attend the United Nations."

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Last year, Emma's project for the National History Day competition about the Women's Suffrage Movement received an Outstanding Entry award sponsored by the History Channel. She is a young woman with a bright future.

The eighth annual Howard County GreenFest will be Saturday, April 18, at the Howard Community College from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The theme this year will be "Living with Wildlife" and the Howard County Bird Club, along with many other environmental groups, will have displays. Vendors, workshops, recycling opportunities and native plant sales will be featured at this free event. Go to http://www.hcgreenfest.org for more information.

The Glenelg High School bands, under the direction of Barry Enzman, received first place awards with superior ratings and the highest scores at the music festivals in Orlando, Fla. The Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Unit and Silks and Dance Teams all received first place awards.

Enzman said that the symphonic band is so outstanding that the judges like to set additional challenges for them, and the band always manages to meet the challenges. Congratulations to all the students.

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