Middle School Think Tank Takes on Big Issues


Last week, 16 FWCD girls and 16 girls from Young Women’s Leadership Academy, all sixth-graders, took part in a Think Tank session on the FWCD campus to come up with ways to help the Fort Worth community. “We talked about how sixth-graders even have superpowers to help those beyond our school communities,” said Hester Burdman, Assistant Head of Middle School.

In the students’ meeting on December 5, the young girls focused on the areas of education, health, transportation and housing in the community. In discussions, they used the recommendations from One Fort Worth, a task force on race and culture, as a guide to help with their discussions (One Fort Worth Task Force Recommendations).

The students broke into small groups of four to six students and researched and discussed problems in a particular focus area. They then brainstormed ways to help make things better. This initial meeting sparked discussion among the girls, who will meet again on the Young Women’s Leadership Academy campus next year.

Elizabeth Dike was one of the students involved in the think tank. She chose to participate because she enjoys meeting new people, and making new friends, learning new things and making a difference in her community. Dike was one of the forces behind FWCD's Lower School playground upgrade.

“At the start of the meeting, we just got to know each other while we ate lunch,” Dike said. “We talked about our schools and the similarities and differences.”

After lunch, it was time to delve into the issues. Dike’s group discussed health and education. “We talked about building off of the Blue Zones project in Fort Worth and encouraging restaurants to offer Blue Zones meals and parking spaces that encourage healthy eating and exercise,” she said. “For education, we decided that families are important to the success of a student. Maybe offering weekly or monthly meetings to families to learn how to support students would be helpful.”

FWCD sixth-graders involved in this service-learning endeavor are:

Mariel Brumley         
Cristiana Collins      
Lyle Crumley
Elizabeth Dike          
Claiborne Edwards  
Eloise Ethridge         
Lilah Firestone         
Lauren Howell          
Caroline King
Mary Kathryn King   
Lainey Liberto          
Mary Kate Manning  
Madeline Mehall       
Meredith Milliorn      
Ashley Ortega          
Sophie Tam  

Burdman expects the girls to meet multiple times throughout the school year to come up with workable solutions for the community. “The ultimate goal is to teach the girls that even at a young age, they can have an impact in the community. We want to empower them to learn and do more for Fort Worth,” Burdman shared. Creating ongoing opportunities in the local community that broaden students’ learning experiences beyond the classroom walls are a cornerstone of a Fort Worth Country Day education. The School’s administration has been focusing on expanding existing relationships and establishing new partnerships and opportunities with community leaders and other like-minded students.

4200 Country Day Lane, Fort Worth, TX 76109
Phone: 817.732.7718
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.