BAR HARBOR — Three members of the Mount Desert Island High School Class of 2020 are among more than 150 young women from 36 high schools in Maine who this month graduated from the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute.
They are Ashley Graves, Sarah MacDonald and Camille Michaud.
The institute, founded by former Maine U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, is a three-year program that focuses on a different theme each year: “My Values,” “My Voice” and “My Vision.”
“The evidence-based curriculum is designed to raise the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them develop the skills required to be leaders in their lives, families, careers and communities,” according to the institute.
“It was awesome,” Graves said of the experience. “We attended two forums a year, where we met with all the other girls from the rest of the state.”
Each of “Olympia’s Leaders,” as participants are called, is supported by one or two trained volunteer advisors who facilitate monthly activities and serve as mentors.
The advisors for MDI’s trio of participants were Carol Bult, deputy director of the Cancer Center at The Jackson Laboratory, and Julie Veilleux, co-owner of the Window Panes store in Bar Harbor.
“I think the thing that impacted me the most out of the whole program was the relationships that I made with those two women,” Graves said.
“They are wonderful; they’ve mentored us through a lot. Even with everything shut down and we could no longer meet in person, they went out of their way to video chat with us and write us.”
Sen. Snowe told this year’s leadership institute graduates, “My greatest privilege is being a part of your journeys of self-discovery and expression, and for
the institute to contribute to your lives today while building networks of support for your tomorrow. After successfully navigating the challenging world of high school—and now a pandemic—you are graduating as strong, resilient, passionate young women with limitless potential.”