Photo by Jeylin White: During the Girls Night Out event Friday at Babb Middle School, Jasmine Phillips, 13 –– also known as Little Jazzy –– rocked the crowd with an original rap song she wrote. The event was sponsored by the school’s “Ladies osf Distinction” youth-mentoring group.
To many, what happened at Babb Middle School Friday evening might seem a bit unusual, these days. A gathering of scores of pre-teen and teenage girls is often an occasion for marathon gossip sessions, jovial –– and not-so-jovial –– jabs back and forth, and even some bickering.
However, that was not the case for the young ladies of Babb Middle School, in Forest Park, who flooded the gymnasium Friday evening for a special “Girls Night Out” event, sponsored by the school’s “Ladies of Distinction” youth-mentoring program.
“It’s nice to be able to come and have fun without any drama,” said Jasmine Thomas, 13, an eight-grader at Babb. “Sometime, you hear about girls fighting over dumb stuff, but that’s why this event is so cool.”
Jasmine was not alone in feeling good about the gathering. Her friends, Destiny Watts, 14, Shaikiria Kelly, 13, and Tajahnicue Boswell, 13, agreed that it “was nice” be in a place where girls could put their differences aside “and just have a good time.”
Patty Mosley, an eighth-grade literacy teacher at the school, and the Ladies of Distinction sponsor, said the event was an opportunity for the girls to have fun,“help build up their confidence and learn to be a part of something positive.”
She said the mentoring program started in 1997, and when she began teaching at the school in 2007, she continued it. The objective, she said, is to work with the girls on their self-esteem, and academics.
To help with the initiative, 15 teachers from the school act as mentors for the girls. “It’s important to teach them proper etiquette skills, and how to conduct themselves as young ladies.” she said. “We talk to them about college, and how to keep up their grades, and many other things.”
During Friday’s event, the girls followed a strict agenda, filled with plenty of activities and guests to keep them entertained. The Clayton State University Cheerleading Squad came out to give the girls a few pointers on preparing for college, and even shared some cheer routines with the youngsters.
Retta Chin, one of the CSU cheerleaders, said, when Mosley contacted her team to be guests, she and fellow cheerleaders accepted without hesitation. “We do a lot of events in the community,” said Chin, “but this is the first time we have come out to talk to young girls at one of the [district] schools.”
Chin and her teammates gave the girls some guidance on the “realities” of college and how to prepare for their futures. “The girls asked really good questions,” said Chin. “I was really surprised they were so mature for their age.”
In addition, during a talent show portion of the gathering, Jasmine Phillips, 13, also known as Little Jazzy, showed off her musical skills, and rapped for her fellow students.
Phillips said she has been rapping since she was 7 years old. “I just like music,” she said/ “Me and my sister write most of my songs –– I just think, and it comes to me.”
Mosley said the next Girls Night Out happening will be in the spring. She added that she is trying to get rhythm and blues singer, Beyonce Knowles, to come and perform for the girls at the spring event. “I’m really trying to make that happen,” she said, jovially. “I’m hoping [she] will [ at least consider it,]” Mosley said.