Magazine Feature / People

Boettcher Scholar’s club empowers area high school girls

Freshman biology major Chisom Agbim was always a good student and had good relationships with her teachers. She noticed, though, that other girls weren’t so fortunate.

“Growing up, I observed a lot of girls without role models,” Agbim says. “They were engaging in negative activities and getting pregnant. When I got to high school, it seemed even more common and I didn’t really see a means of encouraging them to go after better things.”

So, in 2004, Agbim created a club at Hinkley High School called Sisters Involved in the Community, or S.I.C. The club’s goal: to empower girls through community activism.

“I didn’t want a club based good GPA scores or whether these girls were good role models. I wanted to help them turn their lives around. We didn’t close our door to girls who were pregnant or in trouble.”

S.I.C. started with a modest goal: select a community nonprofit and fundraise on its behalf. It became much more.

The club raised more than $2,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims, raised money and awareness about teen pregnancy, spoke out against drinking and driving, and was featured on television. Additionally, Agbim was invited to speak about the club at a conference in Wyoming.

Most important says Agbim — who now is a Boettcher Scholar aiming to become a medical doctor — the club has spread to every high school in the Aurora Public Schools district. 

“I love S.I.C.,” says Ann Atencio, a counselor who recently moved to Rangeview High School from Hinkley. She helped Agbim launch S.I.C. and has established it at Rangeview. “The club supports girls who are in service to their community and school, and it promotes sisterhood at a time when there can be so much cat fighting. It is a positive place for girls to interact.”

Agbim says she learned a lot from S.I.C.

“It feels good to have created something that’s good for my school and to have it blossom into something beneficial for the entire community. It proves that even small goals can turn into something big.”

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