Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)
With a desire to do more for students, King Elementary English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher Donna Hessein founded the Princess Club to teach girls lessons about motivation, self-esteem, life skills, and much more. Princess is an acronym that stands for Pay-it-Forward, Respectful, Intelligent, Neat, Confident, Entertaining, Self-control and Speak your mind.
Principal Amy Larsen sees the positive impact that the club has on students.
“Through the Princess Club, Ms. Hessein provides students with opportunities to experience how they can make a difference in our school and in our community, even as 9 and 10-year old girls. The Princess Club has broadened the girls’ view of the world and the impact they can have with their friends, family, school and community. Ms. Hessein plans for activities that stretch the girls’ skills and beliefs about themselves, helping them to see themselves as capable and ready to rise to a challenge. Finally, our girls develop positive relationships and acceptance of each other outside of the world of academics,” Larsen said.
This school year the club members have participated in several projects including the assembly of goodie bags that contained hot chocolate, biscotti, and candies for Prince William County Police’s Motorcycle Unit. Eight officers came by the school to meet with the students. Club members also created decorative placemats for nearly 70 participants of a local Meals on Wheels program to use while enjoying their meals.
Two local animal shelters received homemade treats and toys for their furry four-legged residents from the Princess Club. And at least twice a year, club members walk the neighborhood street where their school is located to pick up trash as a part of their Adopt-a-Highway commitment.
The club currently has 36 members that includes third through fifth grade students. They are divided into two groups and meet after-school from October through April every other week for about an hour. Hessein is assisted by Donielle Tubioli (ESOL teacher), Monica Ennis (ESOL teacher) and Kristin Blais (kindergarten teacher assistant). Hessein believes “Little girls with Dreams become young women with Vision.”