MSM Hosts Inaugural Girls Leadership Academy for Middle School Girls

A group of sixth- and seventh-grade girls from public and private schools throughout Central Arkansas joined together at Mount St. Mary Academy on Saturday, April 27, for the first-ever Girls Leadership Academy at the Mount. Called GLAM for short, the unique one-day event recognized and celebrated outstanding young girls in the Little Rock area, and inspired understanding and growth in the following areas: self-esteem building, leadership training, respect for self and others, goal setting, public speaking, time management and the importance of service.


Organized by Annie Cross, director of admissions at Mount St. Mary, and led by an energetic team of the school’s students, alumnae, parents and staff, GLAM featured a jam-packed schedule for its young participants. The day’s events included a variety of group sessions, smaller breakout activities, fun games, a closing graduation ceremony with parents and more. Hilary Hunt, news reporter and anchor at KARK, served as special guest presenter and spoke about the importance of self-confidence.


“We were absolutely thrilled with the amount of interest in the inaugural Girls Leadership Academy at the Mount,” Cross exclaimed. “Our goal was to bring together sixth- and seventh-grade girls from different schools in our community for an event focused on promoting self-confidence, building self-esteem, developing a variety of important leadership skills and making new friends, and I think we were successful.”


Susie Whitacre, a Mount St. Mary board member who served on the team that developed and organized the event over the past several months, agreed. “Sixth and seventh grades can be complicated years of growth for young girls, and GLAM helped these girls talk openly about topics that are of concern to them,” she noted. “The girls left Mount St. Mary inspired to respect oneself and to respect others, and excited to further develop their leadership skills – not only in the classroom, but among their peers.”


Nearly 60 young girls representing 15 schools registered for GLAM, surpassing the organizers’ initial goal of 50 girls and resulting in a wait list for the event’s first year. With the success shown during its pilot year, Mount St. Mary is already preparing to make the leadership retreat an annual event.


“Mount St. Mary understands young girls and the importance of developing them into women of great character,” Whitacre commented. “We believe empowering them and helping them better understand themselves at this stage in their lives will lead to more successful years in high school, and ultimately make a positive impact on our community.”


View photos from the inaugural Girls Leadership Academy at the Mount at You may also watch a brief video featuring scenes from the day as well as participant testimonials at


Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.