In honor of Women’s History Month, Excel Academy of Roseland, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, hosted select staff, students, and influential women of Chicago’s communities for its second annual empowerment brunch. “Keep it Pretty, Girl”, sought to inspire and motivate students to achieve academic, professional and personal success, while deepening a connection with staff and community leaders.

During the event, students engaged with successful businesswomen and community women leaders, discussing career and post-secondary opportunities, goal-setting, paths to success, health, relationships, mentorship and more. Additionally, attendees participated in fun team building exercises and several giveaways.

“This was an awesome event – it surpassed my expectations. It’s important to connect with the young women in our communities and offer guidance and mentorship, as well as empower them in being intelligent, beautiful, resilient, and strong,” said Tawny Thomas-Rivers, an independent business owner. “I’m happy I was able to join these women serving as great examples of representation.”

From politicians to entrepreneurs and nurses, life coaches and counselors, students had the opportunity to engage with powerful women who are making a difference.

“I really enjoyed this event and the gems that the women shared,” said Excel student, Shnaree Cribbs. “I got closure from a few things that they said and it’s helping me move forward and understanding the bigger picture.”

“Keep It Pretty, Girl” was spearheaded by Ashanti Brooks, Excel Academy of Roseland staff member, who recently celebrated a decade milestone at the Excel Academies.

“The young women of Excel, showed up and showed out,” said Brooks. “What we did today – it’s the beginning of something bigger!”