PHILADELPHIA – Eighth-grade female students at Samuel Gompers School in Wynnefield received some precious pearls of wisdom from a panel of highly respected women professionals yesterday as part of Women’s Appreciation Month.
In exchange, the panel of entrepreneurs, educators, a broadcaster, pediatric surgeon and government officials each received flowers for their professional successes and community contributions.

The event took place at Gompers, 5701 Wynnefield Ave., as part of the Community Schools program, a partnership with the City of Philadelphia, School District of Philadelphia and the school’s community to remove barriers to learning and support the success of each student.

Positioned at the front of the school’s library before an attentive group of girls clad in red school uniform shirts, were: Dr. Ala Stanford, regional director for the Dept. of Health & Human Services and co-founder of the Black Doctor’s COVID-19 Consortium; Christie IIeto, 6abc News anchor; Denise Snow, program director for Students Diversity Program & Partnerships at Drexel University; NazAarah Sabree, Small Business Advocate, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Quia Parks, Owner/Director, Thinking Out of the Box Learning Center; Ali-Robinson Rogers, Principal Consultant, Rouse Consulting LLC; Melissa Lawson, School Counselor, Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber and PA State Rep. Regina Young.

“We wanted to expose them to women who went to public school and who are doing well in their professions and to celebrate Women’s Appreciation Month,” Rennie Parker, the Community Schools Coordinator at Gompers, said.

After the nearly two-hour conversation in which the students peppered the professionals with questions about work-life balance, childhood goals, overcoming adversity and career decisions, Parker presented each panelist with a bouquet of roses.

Dr. Stanford, whose work has been recognized by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and CNN, told the girls, “You have all these folks in this room who only want to see the best for you. … It doesn’t matter where you born, it doesn’t matter what obstacles are in your way. It’s possible,” she said of achieving their dreams. … I expect all of you to out-do all of us.”