Girl Up Puts the “Up” in Uppercut


Marin Durkee

Girl Up club members show off their hand turkeys from the November meeting. As a part of their goal to positively impact girls and the community, Girl Up values having fun and building relationships with one another.

Aubrie Wade and Marin Durkee

On Jan. 4, Girl Up will be hosting a self-defense class in the Middleton High School (MHS) wrestling room, open to all those interested. 

Girl Up is an international organization founded by the United Nations. The organization has regional affiliates in 150 countries that make up a membership of 150,000 girls, including youth leaders such as those at MHS and several Madison-area schools. Girl Up’s mission is to build a better, more equitable world for girls. MHS’s Girl Up Club is working to make a positive impact on not only girls’ lives but the lives of all other students as well. Their upcoming self-defense class for Middleton students does just this, aimed to educate people about how to protect themselves when it comes to gender-based violence.

“I’m really excited about this project,” Maggie Tate, Girl Up Project Coordinator, said. “It’s really important to have this kind of community impact within our school.” Tate is not alone in her excitement many Middleton students and staff agree that learning about self-defense is crucial. 

Despite immense support for the project, the board faced challenges, such as finding someone to instruct the class. After much consideration, the board was able to find someone who Tate feels is “going to do really great.” 

Girl Up asked MHS junior Genevieve Eck to lead the class. Eck is a second-degree black belt and has been teaching karate at Infinity Martial Arts for two years. Bear Hug defenses, learning when and how to take action and working with a partner are all skills that she intends to include in the class.

“Although it’s unlikely, anyone can get themselves into a dangerous situation,” Eck said. “Self-defense classes can be beneficial for … improving confidence and [personal] discipline.” 

Tate hopes participants will take away more than just a couple of self-defense moves.

“We want people to leave having fun but also having a better understanding of gender-based violence, and how being prepared can make us feel better about going out and being independent,” Tate said.

The Girl Up self-defense class will take place in early January during ASR. For more information, updates will be posted on the club’s Instagram (@middletongirlup).