Student Journalism Spotlight:
The Importance of International Women’s Day

By Madison Brazeau
Grade 11 Student, Valley Heights Secondary School

FRIDAY, MAR. 8, 2024


n New York City, International Women’s Day was proposed by Theresa Malkiel to honor female garment workers who held a protest on March 8, 1857. This inspired other women to propose an annual Women’s Day, and the idea was quickly supported by 100 women delegates from 17 different countries. By 1911, the day was officially recognized by more than 1 million people.

On that day, women demanded the right to vote, to fight against sex discrimination, and to hold public office. Finally, in 1975, the United Nations officially began celebrating International Women’s Day and declared it to be International Women’s Year.

Above: Madison with Mrs. Hevesi at Valley Heights Secondary School.

International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe. On March 8 each year, we commemorate the hard work of women who fought for equality, rights, and suffrage.

Grand Erie has many strong female role models that inspire young women and girls in schools today. One of which who inspires me is Mrs. Hevesi. Mrs. Hevesi teaches the hospitality program at Valley Heights Secondary School, but students often see her as more than that. She is a friend, a support, and most importantly, a strong and courageous person.

Mrs. Hevesi is kind and always has a listening ear. She believes in every student and their ability to succeed, even if they may not believe in themselves. She is selfless, taking on catering for those who need it despite being busy running the school’s hospitality program and providing for the school’s ever-expanding snack program. She is strong and fierce at times, but has the best sense of humor and the biggest heart. I truly enjoy her class every day and seeing her in the hallway, where she never fails to say hello to every student.

Mrs. Hevesi inspires me because I plan to become a teacher, and after one semester with her, I knew that I wanted to be just like her. I hope that one day, I can impact students' lives as Mrs. Hevesi has mine and other students at the Valley.

"Mrs. Hevesi inspires me because I plan to become a teacher, and after one semester with her, I knew that I wanted to be just like her. I hope that one day, I can impact students' lives as Mrs. Hevesi has mine and other students at the Valley."

Madison Brazeau


For Mrs. Hevesi, being proud of being a woman is working in a male-dominated field. She said, “When I trained to be a chef, it was a male-dominated field. I worked hard to earn my red seal. I knew if I continued to work hard, I would achieve the next goal I had, which was to teach hospitality to high school students. When I started teaching hospitality, there were very few certified female teachers. I’m proud to say I accomplished my professional dream as well as my personal dream of having a beautiful family that I adore.”

Mrs. Hevesi comes to her love of cooking through her mother and her former hospitality teacher, whom she is still in contact with today. She is also inspired by her daughter who she described as, “incredibly driven, hardworking, strong-minded, determined, smart, dedicated, and passionate about life.” She has worked at the Valley for a long time and has many memories here, but what was most impactful to her was, “seeing students succeed and helping them get there. It’s an incredible feeling when a student goes home and shares with their family what they’ve learned in my class. I love being that person who gets through to each student! I love listening to them, and I love the countless connections that I’ve made with so many learners and their families. I love the friendships I’ve developed after the student graduates. I feel incredibly blessed to have been invited to bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, family gatherings and other celebrations of former students.” 

I am so thankful to all the strong women role models in my life, from teachers at school, friends, and family, and for the strong, resilient, passionate women who fought and continue to fight for a better future. Today on International Women’s Day, take time to appreciate the meaningful women in your life - women who are brave, fierce, confident; those who are patient, kind, and outgoing. I am proud to be a woman and proud to be surrounded by so many strong role models like Mrs. Hevesi.