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How might we foster an understanding of gender beyond the binary expectations for students transitioning into high school?

The student team gathered at the beginning of summer to explore the topic of female empowerment. As they dove into gaining a better understanding of such a broad topic, they began exploring issues such as street harassment, intimate partner violence, body image, athletic competition, privilege & intersectionality, and the definition of feminism. The team interviewed body positive activist Amy Pence Brown and Girls on the Run Program Director Melissa Bixby.

The One Stone team members decided to create a project surrounding the gender binary or the idea that a girl or boy must only act in ways that are stereotypically that gender. They found that this topic especially affects students who are transitioning into high school, a time already marked by self-exploration and doubt.

The project was implemented twice, once with other One Stone members and once with 9th and 10th graders at Sage International School. One Stone members led activities surrounding three topics regarding gender binary expectations: 1) Awareness, 2) Acknowledgement, and 3) Authenticity. Recipients and the project team answered trivia, discussed their stances on gender issues, and both metaphorically and literally smashed gender stereotypes by creating a mosaic at the first implementation and mosaic photo frames at the second iteration celebrating authenticity.


  • 35 high school recipients
  • 1 giant mosaic
  • 30 picture frames
  • 50lbs of tiles smashed
  • 3 bags of cement

Recipients reflected on their experiences and shared:

“After today I can be more aware of the effects of sexism on others.”

“Everyone has something they feel they have to live up to. It was comforting seeing everyone does that.”

“It was great to learn about what’s going on around the world and gaining new perspectives.”

Words used by recipients to describe this event: