The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

Ms. Day speaks to Hockaday students as well as other students in the Dallas area as part of her role to involve Hockaday students in the community and lead them to fulfill their purpose.
A day with Ms. Day
Sarah Moskowitz and Melinda HuMay 19, 2024

How did you get your start in social impact? Day: Out of college, I decided to do a year in a program called The Jesuit Volunteer Corps. It...

Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Lone Star Royalty Q&A
Lang Cooper and Mary Bradley SutherlandMay 17, 2024

What initially interested you in beauty pageants? Roberts: When I was six I joined the Miss America Organization. This program is for girls...

Branching Out During Break
Jessica Boll, Web Editor in Chief • May 16, 2024

Instead of lazily lounging by the pool this summer, taking advantage of an academic break is the best usage of the months when we don't have...

Senior Splash Day
Senior Splash Day
May 13, 2024

The Power of the First FEMPWR Forum


//PICTURED ABOVE: The first forum hosted by the student-run organization FEMPWR took place at Hockaday on March 23.

One November school day, a group of junior Hockaday students found themselves clustered together in the hallway, loudly voicing their frustrations and opinions. The group of girls, consisting of Emily Stephens, Neelam Jivani, Gigi Spicer, Bethany Vodicka and Sabrina Fearon, never would have imagined what was to come of this ordinary discussion. That day, FEMPWR was born.

FEMPWR, a student-run organization that encourages discussion between girls around Dallas on women’s issues, hosted their first forum on March 23. Open to all girls across the DFW area, the forum adopted a focus of “From Your Bubble to the Outside World” in an attempt to guide young women into the transition from sheltered school environments to college and the everyday workplace.

Junior FEMPWR co-founder Neelam Jivani appreciates the opportunity she has been given to bring girls from over eight schools together to inspire and empower women.

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“FEMPWR has allowed me to inspire other girls but also learn so much myself,” Jivani said. “I have been able to work with my amazing classmates to do something we are truly passionate about and create a safe space for girls to be inspired and learn from each other.”

The shift from an environment like Hockaday, where girls are given the freedom to assume positions of leadership and responsibility, to the outside world can often be challenging. Acknowledging the intimidating reality of this transition, the founders of FEMPWR invited five panelists from various backgrounds to speak at the forum and share their experiences moving into a world of new opportunities. The panelists–Caroline Gayler, Taylor Hall, Elizabeth Walker, Miral Kawasmi, and Avery Davis–have found immense success in their respective fields.

Junior Madeline Petrikas found that the additional presence of the panelists created a full range of perspectives that ensured that every girl left the forum inspired to make their voice heard.

“The panelists were super inspiring women who were able to retain their own values and fight for what they believed in across different careers,” Petrikas said. “It was so powerful to hear their stories.”

Although feminism and women’s rights are often discussed at Hockaday, the student-run element of the forum gave participants the freedom to discuss these topics in a casual setting without reservations.  Emily Stephens, another co-founder of FEMPWR, saw the forum as a way for Hockaday students to discuss shared experiences while also gaining an understanding of life outside the Hockaday bubble.

“FEMPWR is all about empowering girls in our community and inspiring change,” Stephens said. “This past weekend, we got to see girls from all different schools come together and talk about various issues we feel we’ve faced as women. It was really inspiring getting to connect with girls from other schools that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”

Panelist Bios

Caroline Gayler: Caroline Gayler is based in the Washington D.C. area where she is a Donor Relations Officer at the March of Dimes national office. Her background includes a BSc in Strategic Communication from Texas Christian University and a MSc in Global Health Implementation from the University of St. Andrews. Prior to joining March of Dimes, Caroline has worked with various non-profits including Children’s Medical Center Foundation (Dallas, TX) and Project Soar (Marrakesh, Morocco). She has conducted qualitative research focusing on family planning provision in Ukraine, as well as consulted on various global development projects in Nigeria and Cambodia. In her spare time, Caroline enjoys volunteering, spending time with friends/family, and traveling!

Taylor Hall: Taylor Hall is the Director of Admission, at St. Philip’s School and Community Center. She has served as director for the present school term; previously, she was the assistant to the headmaster at St. Philip’s School.  Taylor is an alumna of St. Philip’s School and takes pride in the words of the school creed, which not only set the tone for her personal beliefs but ignited a passion within her. The creed says “the community and the world need my contributions.” These words have led her to pursue a career rooted in service to others. Taylor attained a bachelor’s degree in leadership and a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in nonprofit management, from Texas A&M University. Since graduating, she has devoted the last five years to working in the non-profit sector. Her experience includes human resource management, strategic management, program development, management and organizational change. She enjoys volunteering with organizations related to social justice, education, the youth, specifically girls, shopping and checking out new eating establishments. More recently, she has served on the Alumnae Board of Directors, at her alma mater, The Hockaday School.

Elizabeth Walker: After graduating from Hockaday (class of 2011), Elizabeth Walker attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where she earned a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chinese Studies. Though her intention was to attend medical school after graduation from Rhodes, a summer of biomedical research in Brazil changed her path. Ultimately, she landed in China, teaching English at a college in Hebei Province for three years. Shortly after moving back to the U.S. last year, Ms. Walker began coaching for Hockaday Rowing. She continues to teach Chinese students in Dallas.

Miral Kawasmi: Miral H. Kawasmi is an educator and life-long learner with twelve years of educational experience. She holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University in Chemistry with a minor in Education and a Masters from Southern Methodist University in Education. She is currently wrapping up the Principal Certification Program from Lamar University. In 2006, her career began in the Irving Independent School District as a high school Science teacher. She taught a variety of science courses, wrote curriculum for the district, and then transitioned as the Science Instructional Coach for the campus. Mrs. Kawasmi was voted Teacher of the Year her second year of teaching. In 2012, Mrs. Kawasmi joined the Special Education Department where she was an Inclusion Teacher and Department Chair.  After ten years servicing students and parents in Irving, Mrs. Kawasmi transitioned to another District. Mrs. Kawasmi joined the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in 2017 and began teaching Grade Level and Pre-AP Chemistry. The following year she transitioned to teaching the GT/Pre-AP Chemistry Students and currently is the AVID Site Coordinator for the campus. Mrs. Kawasmi has been in the district for only two years, however, she has been involved in many leadership opportunities including being selected to join the District 2.0 Committee, Campus Excellence Committee, Valor Program, and lead professional development sessions at the campus and district level.

Avery Davis: Avery Davis attended Highland Park High School, graduated in 2017 and now is a sophomore at SMU. She is majoring in music, accounting, and math. In her free time, Avery enjoys volunteering after becoming interested in women’s issues during her time in high school.

Story by Shea Duffy

Photos by Sabrina Fearon

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