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Brookhaven teen wants to mentor other girls

An eye-opening conference led a Brookhaven Panther to start a girl empowerment club at her high school.

Kalisha Durr, a 16-year-old junior at Brookhaven High School, attended a camp at Mississippi State University this summer called We Lead.

“They talked to us about several issues that women face and different things we get stereotyped for,” Durr said. “I wanted to start something here and get girls in our community informed on these issues as well.”

In order to start a club, Durr needed approval from the school board and a sponsor.

Assistant Principal Latronda Gayten took on that role. She’ll help Durr go through applications and set up meetings.

Durr said the club will meet twice a month, starting Sept. 23, but she’s not sure yet where. Lipsey Middle School or the Brookhaven Public Library are both options.

The focus of the club will be for Ole Brook female students to mentor young girls from fifth through eighth grade.

“We’ve contacted the principals and counselors at Alexander Jr. High and Lipsey Middle School and they are going to give us a list of names of who we should mentor,” said Durr. “As girls, we’re not considered leader material. Anyone can be a leader as long as you have the right attitude. I wanted to give girls a chance to be able to show their skills.”

She hopes the girls they mentor will learn leadership skills and become mentors themselves in high school.

Durr’s mom, Felicia Durr, is proud of her daughter for starting this club.

“She’s pretty independent. She likes doing things on her own. The Mississippi State conference really opened her eyes,” she said.

As a leader, Durr has a bright future ahead of her. She hopes her leadership skills will rub off on others.

“I want this to show people that I can be a leader in my community. I want others to feel that way,” Durr said. “I’m looking forward to meeting girls and seeing how they react to the club and what they will take from it.”

After high school, she wants to become a pharmacist.

“I love chemistry, and if I do pharmacy school, that may lead me toward going to Ole Miss or another pharmacy school,” Durr said.

For information on how to join the club, contact Durr at durr.k84@gmail.com.