The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Gateway!

Another successful women’s empowerment event
Melissa Eckstein
Guest speakers Jill Weber and Cassandra Burnett

On International Women’s Day on March 8th, Gateway held its annual Women’s Empowerment Day headed by Gateway 2 Careers Director, Mrs. Eckstein! Every year she puts together a celebratory event where influential women are invited to speak at Gateway to numerous female students who are nominated to attend.

A group of senior Gateway 2 Career students helps to plan and execute the event every year, as well as design the t-shirts and advertisements. This year that committee consisted of seniors, Tabby Bay, Brielle Heffernan, Emily Childs, and Maura Kearnes. They did an excellent job introducing the speakers and helping all to run smoothly.

Some of this year’s speakers included Jill Weber and Cassandra Burnett. They each passionately shared with the eager audience how they got to be where they are and what it took to feel empowered.

Cassandra, an attorney and bakery owner, shared how throughout the earlier years of her life she started to “hide”. By this, she meant she went from a confident, bubbly child with no fears or embarrassment to a young adult who would hide behind a smile even when she felt like she wanted to break down. She shared with listeners how important it was to be authentically yourself and let yourself feel every emotion.

Don’t be afraid to cry when you need to or let others know how you are feeling. You cannot bottle up your emotions; it isn’t healthy.

— Cassandra Burnett

Next, Jill Weber discussed how her free-spirited nature shaped her future as an archeologist. She discussed how she never cared about what others thought of her and felt her best when left to be with her own thoughts.

She explained how she worked in Turkey, Iraq, and other countries around the world where she gained new perspectives on life, “You don’t realize how small your problems are until you are in an area of war. It really makes you think.”

Jill also shared how important it is to have a strong network of people you can lean on. Both she and Cassandra are restaurant owners and struggled during the Pandemic, as many others. Jill was a founding member of the Sisterly Love Collective, a group of Philadelphia women restaurant owners who spoke and supported one another during and after the Pandemic. Cassandra is also a part of this group and both women spoke highly of those in the collective and the many achievements the group has attained, like fundraising for numerous important causes.

You never know when you need someone. Create that strong network so you have someone there when you need help.

— Jill Weber

Overall, the International Women’s Day celebration was a massive success! The students were enthralled with the amazing speakers, the event was incredibly organized, and everyone had a great time. As Mrs. Eckstein expressed at the event’s closing, what a great opportunity Women’s Empowerment Day is for the Gateway community, she shared, “It’s a passion of mine to pair career-ready young women with strong females in a variety of male dominated fields to empower them to make a difference in their careers.”

We are all thankful that Gateway allows such an event to take place every year!

Thank you, Mrs. Eckstein, the senior marketing team, the amazing guest speakers, and everyone else who made this day so incredibly special.

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About the Contributor
Laurel Rose Barrett
Laurel Rose Barrett, Editor-in-Chief
I'm Laurel Barrett, and I am in my second year as the Editor-in-Chief of The Chomp! I am currently a junior, and my favorite subjects are English and Science. My hobbies are reading, writing, and creating artistic projects, like posters and models. I am a lawyer in Mock Trial, a President of Book Club, and I am an NJ-JCL Executive Board Officer. I'm also a member of Latin Club, NHS, World Language Honors Society, and Gateway's Mentor Program. Additionally, I am the social media manager of a NJ non-profit called P.U.R.E. Girls, Inc. and enjoy volunteering at Angels Community Outreach. I plan to become a patent lawyer in the future and practice somewhere in New England. I look forward to interviewing featured teachers, writing opinion pieces, and creating book reviews for The Chomp this year! If you want to join our team, feel free to email me @[email protected].
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  • M

    MELISSA ECKSTEINMar 10, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Great article Laurel! I appreciate you covering the event! You are one empowered female yourself and I admire your commitment to your goals! I expect to have you back at Gateway one day to speak for this event! 🙂

    • L

      Laurel BarrettMar 16, 2024 at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much. I enjoyed covering the event. It would be a supreme honor to come back to Gateway in the future to speak at Women’s Empowerment Day or Career Day. Speaking at both are long-term goals for sure.

      – Laurel Barrett, Editor-in-Chief