Barbe students share personal stories to help shatter stereotypes of ‘perfect’ girls

The 18 girls on Alfred M. Barbe High School’s 2018 Homecoming Court met with fifth-grade girls from several elementary schools to talk about body image, self-esteem and anti-bullying advocacy.

The tour was part of a new school tradition, “Homecoming Court for a Cause.” Sponsor Deidra Fitzgerald said she came up with the idea as a way to bring new meaning to the court and have the girls do something more with it.

“They can use wherever they are as a platform for something good,” she said. “We can always change what seems meaningless into meaningful.”

The court of 18 travelled to Dolby, A.A. Nelson and Prien Lake elementary schools and recalled their painful, yet admittedly normal, pre-adolescent insecurities.

Fitzgerald said the students “hit it perfectly” as they described their personal struggles with their weight, teeth, acne, body hair and other social development issues.

“We shattered the stereotype that homecoming court girls are perfect,” she said.

Fitzgerald said the experience also taught an important lesson about how to foster authentic connections with other individuals.

“Being vulnerable and sharing your story brings you closer, and I think adults need that reminder, too,” she said.

Barbe senior Julia Eccles said the experience of opening up to other students on the court created “new and more meaningful friendships.” Eccles shared her personal struggle with losing baby teeth later than most of her peers.

“I hope they realize that things are temporary,” she said. “You come out and you survive.”

Eccles pointed to her ears, which she once feared stuck out too far, but are now adorned with a variety of jewels.

“Embrace what makes you different,” she said.

Aubrey Caldwell, a junior, said young girls should realize their beauty even when they aren’t “dressed up.”

“You’re going to feel more beautiful when you’re not trying to hide who you are,” she said.

While counselors and teachers share similar messages of positivity, Caldwell added “it was probably nice for the girls to hear it from someone else.”

“I hope they realize every single girl goes through similar things,” she said.

Ilham Chloun, a senior, shared her transformation from an elementary student who couldn’t speak English to the leader of the senior section at Barbe football games. “I’m so glad I changed from elementary to middle and now to high school,” she said. “Who would’ve thought 11 years ago that I would be the loudest one around and on homecoming court? You have to make a voice for yourself.”

Scotti Moffett, a senior, said the event has left a permanent impression on her high school experience.

“I won’t just think, ‘Oh, I was on the homecoming court,’ but instead I’ll think, ‘I made a difference.’ I wish someone would’ve come (and) talked to me — high schoolers, not adults. And now I hope someone goes to talk to my daughter one day in the future.”

‘Being vulnerable and sharing your story brings you closer, and I think adults need that reminder, too.’

Deidra Fitzgerald

Barbe High School Homecoming Court sponsor

””

Members of the 2018 Alfred M. Barbe High School Homecoming Court are, front row: Kameron Taylor (teacher), Gabriell Little, Scotti Moffett, Aubrey Caldwell, Kiran Owens, Julia Eccles, Deidra Fitzgerald (coordinator), and Eloise Pruit (teacher). Back row: Emma Fournerat, Ilham Chloun, Mia Owens, Kana Webb, McKenzie Davis, Bailey Wilson, Jasmine Goodly, Alyson Goree, Lauren LaRocca, Emily Herrera, Ella Evans, Claire Fontenot and Ali Deville.

Special to the American Press

high-school Football

Photo Gallery: LCCP vs. St. Louis

Local News

Re-Thunk Junk Trail: ‘Some good finds if you take your time’

Local News

Pedestrian struck, killed on US 171

Local News

Vernon asks for more funding after Head Start enrollment doubles

Business News

Zoning laws amended for solar farm

Crime

10/15: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

Downtown Saturday fest aims to celebrate spirit, resilience of SW La.

Local News

Charla Blake: Project Build A Future work rewarding, humbling

Crime

Criminal motorcycle gang activity ‘at dangerous level’

Local News

Kinder man killed in motorized scooter accident

Local News

Cold front expected in SW La. Friday night

Local News

Amanda Dougherty: I have built lifelong friendships in teaching profession

Crime

10/14: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Time to draw election lines

Local News

Lifelong wellness journey starts by taking the first step 

Local News

Jeff Davis, Vernon police juries oppose vaccine mandates

Local News

LC Housing Authority finally gets insurance money year after Laura

Crime

State trooper charged in fatal crash

Business News

Bayou Blend has comfort down to a ‘T’

Business News

Economist discusses fate of energy prices

Business News

Mayor honored with tourism leadership award

Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business

Business News

Russell Richard: Why leadership is so important