Mr. Rory Campbell, KES faculty and coach, recently had a conversation with alumna Tessa Firth ‘18.
Growing up isn’t always easy and that can be especially true for young girls who might sometimes feel alone. This is something that Class of 2018 grad and soon-to-be Acadia University grad Tessa Firth tried to address when she established the Girls Walk Forward project in early 2021. “I wanted to create a safe space for girls coming back to in-person from the pandemic,” noted the former KES prefect and captain of both our girl’s rugby and basketball teams. “I thought back to how hard middle school was when I was younger and how going through that during a pandemic would be super isolating and could create lots of anxiety for an already vulnerable group.”
The purpose of Girls Walk Forward is to connect female identifying youth in the Annapolis Valley community with student mentors from Acadia University to create a space for conversation and learning about issues faced by girls transitioning into young adulthood. After receiving funding from both the Annapolis Valley Center of Education and the Nova Scotia Advisory Council for the Status of Women, Tessa’s group met with Grade 7 and 8 students from Evangeline Middle School in New Minas every Wednesday for a walk in the park and a talk about issues they had on their minds.
“I just wanted them to feel like they could talk to and look up to older individuals and have something to look forward to every Wednesday.” When asked about how her time at King’s-Edgehill influenced her desire to take on a leadership role in her community, Tessa reflected back on her time at KES positively. “Yes, definitely! Being a leader on the rugby and basketball teams at KES helped me learn that getting to know younger girls and helping them in any way I could was a passion of mine. I think learning to mentor students as a steward and prefect were also great experiences. Also, I still think about the influence that girls like Anna Killacky ‘16 and Jill Miller ‘17 had on me as mentors.” Former KES student Kenzie Cecchetto ‘18 was also involved with the programme and served alongside Tessa as a mentor for the girls. While the Girls Walk Forward project has been shifted online for the time being, it is something that Tessa and Kenzie hope can continue.
For Tessa, she is now looking ahead to what’s next for her after she graduates with a double major in biology and kinesiology from Acadia in the spring. She hopes to pursue graduate studies in public health, but there’s no doubt that wherever her next steps take her she will continue to make a positive impact on the community around her.