Young women from Westbrook High School (WHS) gathered in the WHS Library on March 10th to hear a very important message from the Westbrook Women’s Club, the Westbrook City Clerk’s Office, and from female educators and role models working in their school: exercise your right to vote.
WHS Art Teacher Debra Bickford, WHS Librarian Beth Andersen, and WSH Assistant Principal Wendy Harvey hosted interested students in the library for a presentation about Women’s Suffrage as an homage to Maine’s Bicentennial celebration. The event is one of many Bicentennial related activities that Westbrook School Department has brought to students throughout the week.
Dressed in the attire that women would have worn as they marched for Women’s Suffrage in the early 1900s, ladies from the Westbrook Women’s Club shared the history of women’s struggle and eventual success at gaining the right to vote in the United States. All of the adults in the room took the opportunity to stress the importance of this movement by sharing the ongoing struggles and triumphs experienced by women in Maine, all over the country, and around the world through the years and continuing to this day as women continue to work toward equality.
While ladies from the Westbrook Women’s Club talked about having to prove they were literate in order to vote right here in Maine several decades ago, other women shared examples of gaining equal access to athletics as female students, and also referenced the on-going struggle for equal pay. All shared as examples of why it is so important for young women to exercise their right to vote.
“Having a voice in this country is something that we can’t take for granted,” said WHS Librarian Beth Andersen.
As part of the event, WHS Art Teacher Debra Bickford helped coordinate WHS Honor Society students as they put an artistic spin on artwork from the era.
Representatives from Westbrook City Clerk’s Office were also at the event and shared information about how to register to vote, including when young adults can register or pre-register to vote, and to not be afraid to ask questions about the process when the time comes to go down to the voting booth.
“Don’t think that your vote doesn’t matter,” said WHS Assistant Principal Wendy Harvey. “If not for your self than for generations of women to come,” she added.
In addition to the Women’s Suffrage event at Westbrook High School, the students have also been engaged in Maine themed games of Jeopardy, a Maine themed bracket where students vote on food items and other Maine related items to pick an icon that best represents the state, they plan to host Maine Comedian Tim Sample this week, and even the Middle School has adopted a Maine theme to their annual Spirit Week.