Members of the Women of Tomorrow chapter at Eastpointe High School were honored recently for their achievements as part of the organization.

Members of the Women of Tomorrow chapter at Eastpointe High School were honored recently for their achievements as part of the organization.

Photo provided by Caitlyn Kienitz

Eastpointe students gain confidence, life skills as Women of Tomorrow

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 30, 2019


EASTPOINTE — Eastpointe High School is among several schools across the country helping girls to be their best selves through the Women of Tomorrow program.

Through the program, young women meet potential mentors, learn valuable life skills and get a safe and open space to both listen and express themselves.

“It’s a mentoring program with two mentors from the business world that come into a school and talk at each meeting about topics that help young girls realize the dreams of a better future, and increase their achievement and success,” guidance counselor and Eastpointe High School program mentor Rebecca Ceresa said. “It’s been here since 2012 in Eastpointe. That’s when it started in the greater Detroit area. It started in Florida and Pennsylvania a few years earlier.” 

Students can join voluntarily or get referred by a teacher.

“It’s a monthly meeting or gathering where young women come together to express themselves and talk about womanhood and life,” said one member, senior Destiny Crockett. “We talk about the future or college and we listen to presentations (such as) a woman who owns a bakery downtown who taught us how to make pastries, or a woman who came in to teach us about banking and the difference between credit cards and debit cards and building up your credit or avoiding debt.”

Other members, such as senior Chee Xiong, said Women of Tomorrow can give young women an outlet to explore aspects of their lives that are difficult to navigate otherwise.

“Women of Tomorrow gives you an overlook of your whole life. You never really think of yourself in certain ways, but this really helps bring out your creativity,” she said. “It was amazing to see all these women expressing themselves and learning to be confident. It helps teach you things about life in ways you might not learn otherwise.”

The students in the program take part in a variety of activities and get access to several guest speakers and field trips.

“They loved the pastry chef. We also had a self-defense and martial arts teacher, which was very popular,” Ceresa said. “We had someone come in to discuss and demonstrate mindfulness and meditation. We’ve had speakers about personal vision and setting goals. Every year, we take a field trip as well. This year, we’re talking to entrepreneurs in TechTown in Detroit.”

Crockett, Xiong and three of their fellow Eastpointe High School seniors taking part in Women of Tomorrow received scholarships through the program and were honored at an awards banquet. Member Nia Walker received $200, Crockett received $500, Shauna Finn received $1,000, Xiong received $2,000, and Carcia Young received $2,000 a year for four years at Michigan State University.

“The awards presentation was April 17 at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn,” Ceresa said. “We were represented very well at the ceremony, with five members getting scholarships while our member Shauna played the national anthem, Destiny read the Pledge of Allegiance and Carcia read the Women of Tomorrow pledge.”

The scholarships are awarded by the National Women of Tomorrow’s scholarship committee. Their decisions are based on factors such as financial need, academics, their applications and college admission.

The students in the program explained how they think it helps them grow and become better people with brighter futures.

“It builds confidence. It shows how to express yourself as a young woman,” Crockett said. “I think many young girls can find it difficult to express how we truly feel in the classroom, but also at home or in a relationship. Sometimes it takes a whole group who are like you talking about their lives for you to be ready to come out and say what you’ve been thinking and feeling.”

“Everything is not going to go as planned. College is going to be hard, life is going to be hard, but Women of Tomorrow taught me to be positive and prepares me for those negative times by turning negatives into positives, and hard times into lessons,” added Xiong. “If you don’t rush yourself into things, it’s better. Your time will come. Don’t worry about who you are or put yourself down; everyone’s still learning.”

Ceresa said the program does amazing things for a student’s confidence, and she has seen in the three years that she’s led the program at Eastpointe High School how much of a difference it can make in a student’s academic career and life.

“I think it does a lot for their confidence. ... We see a lot of girls who are quieter, and you can see how they grow as they continue to take part in the program,” she said. “It helps them to have this close group to support them and a more intimate environment to learn or talk.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.