HOUSTON – This school year, 8th grade girls at Houston Middle School were part of the inaugural year of The Pineapple Group.
The group was created by local business owner Andrea McMichael in August of 2018. She created the group hoping to encourage young women to stay in school, promote kindness and friendship among the girls as well as with their peers, get their education and go on to lead successful lives with successful careers. The program works in conjunction with the school.
“I chose the 8th grade girls because I believe this age is extremely impressionable as they are preparing to transition to high school,” said McMichael. “My idea was to instill in them the importance of staying in school and graduating, thinking about what type of career they wanted to pursue, and the importance of self-worth, self-esteem and self-respect.”
They brought in various guest speakers throughout the year to speak to the girls. They came from different career paths including but not limited to managerial, nursing and government positions.
The girls were also tasked with making a new friend before each month’s assembly.
McMichael funded a project to paint the 8th grade girls’ bathroom. They painted positive quotes on the wall to remind the girls that they could achieve anything as long as they set their mind to it.
At the end of the school year, McMichael threw a party for the girls, and they were all very appreciative of the experience she had given them with the group. Many of the girls repeatedly thanked her for the party, but also for giving them the chance to break out of their “shell”, so to speak, and meet new people and make new friends. They broke away from the “clique” system and developed friendships with people they otherwise might not have ever talked to.
She also earned herself a title that she didn’t forsee – “Mrs. Pineapple.” She loves running into the girls around town and hearing them say, “Hey, Mrs. Pineapple.”
Her reason for starting the group was because she felt the girls would have life-long benefits from it.
“Never underestimate the impact you can have on anyone just by being kind,” said McMichael. “Kindness never goes out of style. Invest in our youth, for they are the future of each community.”
The group will see a new set of 8th grade girls this upcoming school year.