by Carol Lopes ’15
The day at Capitol Hill was finally here. At 8:00 a.m. we gathered for breakfast. Each group had an adult leader that would help us get to the meetings and serve as a member. The New Jersey group was lucky to have the director of Girl Up, Melissa Hilebrenner, as our leader. At 8:45 a.m. we gathered and boarded the bus and after a short fifteen minute bus ride we arrived at Capitol Hill.
I had been to DC a couple of times but I didn’t know that Capitol Hill was divided into three buildings. One for the House of Representatives, one for the Senate, and the other one for all the other gatherings. We had six back-to-back meetings all in different buildings, which meant a lot of walking and sprinting in ninety-seven degree weather. Water was my best friend that day.
As soon as we arrived we had to go to our first meeting. I have to admit I was a little bit nervous. I would be right in front of Representative Jon
Runyan who is a very tall man. However, I soon learned that I didn’t have to be nervous at all. He was very busy that day but was super welcoming and even took a picture with us to post on his Twitter!
All the other meetings went very smoothly, all senators and representatives were very supportive of the bill and very impressed that a group of girl of ages 15-18 were able to position themselves to convey exactly what they wanted. The last meeting was definitely my favorite. We were going to meet with Cory Booker’s secretary since he had a meeting. I knew something was up because there was a photographer following us but I tried not to get my hopes us. Fifteen minutes into the meeting Representative Cory Booker stormed into the room. I could not contain my excitement. He said we were awesome and that we rocked. We felt like the luckiest girls ever. He then asked us to take the famous Cory Booker selfie.
That was definitely the highlight of my day. After the meeting all 157 girls gathered for a group picture and that meant it was the end of the Girl Up conference of 2014. I cannot express how lucky I was to attend this conference. I met amazing girls from everywhere in America and very important people that are willing to talk to teenagers to try and make a change in the world. That gives me hope for the future. It was hard to say goodbye but this won’t be my last contact with Girl Up. I cannot wait to get back to George School in the fall and present all my ideas. We can really make a change. I hope everyone enjoyed reading about my experience. This conference welcomes anyone to attend so if you are interested or have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Hope everyone has an amazing summer and see you all in the fall!