On January 10th, 2024, the Girls’ School of Austin welcomed Senator Sarah Eckhardt onto campus to speak with students about her distinguished career in public service. The first woman elected to represent District 14 in the Texas State Senate and the first woman to serve as Travis County Judge, Senator Eckhardt provided an empowering example for GSA students developing their own leadership skills.

The event, moderated by GSA 8th Grader Coco Kim, consisted of a brief presentation about Senator Eckhardt followed by an interactive Q&A, during which students asked insightful questions about Senator Eckhardt’s job, campaign process, and insights into important issues affecting Texans today.

“I was so anxious for Senator Eckhardt’s arrival, mainly because I knew her visit was an important one for the school,” admitted Kim, who spent weeks preparing for the event. “But once Senator Eckhardt and I sat down in our chairs on stage, I immediately felt a sense of ease. She has a way of making you feel comfortable while teaching you something new.”

For Rebecca Yacono, Head of School at the GSA, Senator Eckhardt reminded her of the importance of girls’ education and developing a diverse skill set.

“When Senator Eckhardt talked about being a minority as a woman in politics, she served as a really strong reminder of why we still need a girls’ school,” Yacono shared. “She also made these great ties to interdisciplinary relationships in our education. It’s not just about learning to be a public servant — it’s about learning to speak in front of an audience, to use math for a campaign strategy, to connect with others. And all those messages were really profound.”

“Interviewing Senator Eckhardt was definitely one of the highlights of my middle school experience,” Kim added. “I truly enjoyed our conversation, and I believe the rest of my school did, too.”

The Girls’ School of Austin was honored to have hosted Senator Eckhardt, and students walked away both engaged and inspired by her trailblazing leadership.