Girl Scouts go for Gold Award


Abigail Gant poses with a yard sign recognizing her work.

Gabriella Lazaro, Staff Writer

Quickly logging onto zoom eager to attend Katie O’Connells presentation with 35 other Peer Counselors, students gather all their materials so Katie can start the art lesson of drawing the famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa. As Katie draws the first line across the canvas, everyone follows. The presentation continues as she demonstrates every step, taking time in between each line to reflect and decide what step to do next. As the students finish up their drawings Katie describes how beneficial art is for the human mind, and how it can help you express your emotions. 

The gold award is the highest award a Girl Scout can receive during their time as a Scout. In fact two students from Poway High received the award this year by educating and serving their community. 

Junior Katie O’Connell, achieved her gold award through a project that demonstrates how important expressing your emotions through art can be for your mental health. 

“My gold award was the Art of Happiness Project, and I taught teens across the nation about the science behind the art of mental health so they can express their emotions through art and improve their mental health,” O’Connell said.

Many students here at Poway attended one of O’connell’s presentations hosted over zoom on May 7th.

“I think Katie did a good job using various sources to back the connection between mental health and art,” junior Ljosha Kremliovsky said. 

Junior Abigail Gant, started her project that taught individuals how to manage stress in a balanced way at the beginning of sophomore year and just finished it in March. 

“I decided to center mine around helping people manage stress because I see stress and anxiety eating away at so many high schoolers’ mental health,” Gant said. 

With a goal of providing her community with resources to help manage stress, Gant created multiple platforms to educate the public. 

“First, I started a club at school called “Not Stressin” where we meet and do lessons, crafts, have discussions, and bring in guest speakers to help with stress every week,”  Gant said.

Gant also “developed a blog with an Instagram page and Youtube channel that posted public service announcements (PSAs) about stress and mental wellness.”

And finally, “I held workshops and gave numerous presentations on stress. I gave these to a range of age groups from elementary schoolers to adults all over the United States. Because of COVID-19, I was able to host Zooms and reach many people,” Gant said. 

Her hard work will finally pay off in June when she will attend the award ceremony and officially receive her Gold Award. 

Gant and O’Connell worked hard to achieve their gold awards while informing their community about how significant mental health is on individuals. As well as addressing multiple different coping mechanisms you can utilize to keep your mental health balanced.