Sen. Capito visits Sistersville Elementary School

SISTERSVILLE — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., was at Sistersville Elementary School Thursday hosting one of her Girls Rise Up events. 

This is Capito’s 16th Girls Rise Up event overall but her first in Tyler County. Capito launched Girls Rise Up in 2015 after she became the first female senator from West Virginia. 

The purpose of the initiative is to empower young women through education, physical fitness, and self-confidence. Over the past few years, the senator has traveled to elementary schools in West Virginia, where she talks to fifth grade girls about education, physical fitness, and self-confidence and encourages them to take the West Virginia Girls Rise Up Challenge. 

Capito’s visits have ranged from small class discussion to larger assemblies. While the target age for these events is usually fifth grade girls, Capito met with 33 female students from grades 4-5 at Sistersville Elementary School. Past events have sometimes included special guests like NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and the WVU Gymnastics Team. 

In the West Virginia Girls Rise Up Challenge, students selected at least one item and committed to incorporating the activity into their regular routine. Capito plans to follow up later in the year with a Skype conversation to check in on the students and create an ongoing dialogue.

Some of the examples of activities in the West Virginia Girls Rise Up Challenge are:

* For Education: keep a daily journal, read a book that challenges you, do 30 extra minutes of homework each day, research a college or career, seek out a mentor, offer to tutor a classmate.

* For Fitness: do 50 jumping jacks a day, go for a walk or jog daily, dance 30 minutes a day, keep an exercise journal, try a new fruit or vegetable, drink 8 glasses of water a day.

* For Confidence Boosters: try out for a sport team, volunteer at school or in your community, make a new friend at school, speak up in class, speak at church or try out a new hobby.

The girls separated into four groups to work on their challenges, and Capito sat down with one of the groups and filled out her own pledge card with the girls. Capito vowed to eat more fruit. 

Capito stated it is fun to interact with the girls in grades 4-5, particularly on the self-confidence issue and on what they’ve thought about and what they think that means — whether it means being able to stick up for themselves, being able to say no, being able to withstand their friends, things that may sound easy, “but as we know, as we get older, it’s harder.” 

The senator also noted how she talks to the young girls about life when she was a young girl as well. 

Capito said she thought about this initiative, because her father was a prominent public figure. He was the governor and throughout her life, she has had people to come up to her and tell her that her dad inspired them. He might have spoken at an event an individual attended, and now that individual is president of the class or aspiring to be county commissioner. 

Capito said she wanted to do something, as the first woman U.S. senator from West Virginia, that would be an inspiration for younger girls. She thought it would be great if some girls would perhaps approach her daughter one day and say, “Your mom came to our class, and now I want to be part of government, making decisions and changes.” 

Sistersville Principal Krista DeVaughn said she felt the visit was a positive experience, and the girls seemed enthused. She said the Personal Challenge was wonderful and appropriate for the grade level.

By:  Telina Frye
Source: The Parkersburg News and Sentinel