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Unlocking Power & Potential with Girls on the Run

Germantown Academy is a proud supporter of Girls on the Run (GOTR), a fun, evidence-based program that inspires participants to recognize their inner strength, increase their level of physical activity, imagine their possibilities, and confidently stand up for themselves and others. GA has hosted its own GOTR teams for the past 11 years, spearheaded by Head of Lower School Sue Szczepkowski.

"Having this program at GA, and everywhere really, creates an affinity space for girls at a sensitive age of their development,” said Szczepkowski. “The program combines physical challenges, friendship, and social-emotional learning skills to create strong girls with a can-do spirit!”

GOTR offers programs designed to inspire girls of all abilities to recognize and embrace their inner strength and make meaningful connections with others. Trained coaches at GA, which includes a mix of teachers, administrators, parents, and US students, use physical activity and dynamic discussions to build social, emotional, and physical skills while encouraging healthy habits for life.

The season runs from February through May with practices held on campus twice a week. Students enjoy warm up games that practice skills taught in the opening lessons, earning cool stickers as lap counters during workouts, and giving energy awards to teammates who work hard and inspire the team.

GOTR uses a theme of “Unlocking Power and Potential.” In just a few short weeks, many of the GA team members feel that they have gained both power and potential.  

“Every girl completes a 5K run at the end of the season,” said Szczepkowski. “This is important because they learn that they can accomplish something that initially does not feel possible. Many girls do not see themselves as ‘runners’ in the beginning, yet they run anyway. At the end of the season, they understand that they can grow into new identities, build muscles that they didn’t know they had, and become strong in a community of supportive girls. I hope this experience serves as a foundation for growing into future challenges.”

GA’s cheering section saw each of its members cross the finish line at the season-ending 5K held on May 4 where there were more than 4,000 people running and waving at Montgomery County Community College. GA would like to recognize Tracy Feldman-Ashdale P'16 '18 '22, parent of three GA alumnae, who is stepping down as the executive director of Girls on the Run Southeastern Suburban PA after 18 years. Szczepkowski commented, “Her passion for this program and amazing organization skills made her an excellent role model and we wish her all the best in the future!”