Donned in historical clothing suited to the character they were portraying, a handful of Saugus High School teachers and students honored the legacy of women and the impact they’ve had on history.
For the past 13 years, the Saugus community, in partnership with the American Association of University Women and members of the Santa Clarita chapter, have held the celebration with each year having a particular theme.
“For the last three years, we have chosen a theme, and we participate in that theme,” said Louise Willard, a SHS career transition adviser and the school-site staff member who has helped organize the event year after year. “Our first year, we did first ladies; last year, we were women of science; this year, (we) were women in sports; and next year, we’ll be authors.”
This year, six women — three teachers and three students — portrayed six different female athletes who had a lasting effect on both the sport they played and the social norms they lived in. In front of hundreds of assembly-attending students, they delivered the biographies and achievements of each of their women in history while in character.
“We’re very picky about who we pick, because we want them to represent our women in a particular way,” said Willard. “It’s important for people to know that whatever we’re representing, is that women have a presence in every field, whatever it is.”
“We’re giving girls role models to look up to after hundreds of years of oppression,” said Bethany Farnell, who portrayed Mia Hamm, a former soccer player for the U.S. national team. It was Farnell’s fourth time participating in the Saugus High Women’s Day event. “I just love it, and I love giving the message of women and history and showing little girls that they can do this… this is attainable.”
The main driving point of the event, Willard said, was to teach everyone that no matter your gender, you can make a huge impact in any field, Willard said, adding that her character, professional golfer and Olympic gold medalist Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, is still the only person to have won a medal in the Olympics in running, jumping and throwing events, as well as one of the founding members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
“I think that’s what is important: It’s not whether if you’re a male or a female,” Willard said, “it’s if you can do this.”