I'm Doing It In A Dress because...
Education has the power to change lives! I have been fortunate enough to receive a great education without anything standing in my way . . . but for 130 million girls around the world, this isn't the case. Join me in my adventures, wearing a school dress, to change the world one girl at a time!
Reached 100% of your fundraising target! A+ effort!
Joined Do It In A Dress 2020 ... and we're off!
Raised $40!? Enough for five reusable pad kits!
Hit $100! Enough for life skills training for six months!
Raised $300 – that's enough for school for one year!
Raised $500 ... you are absolutely smashing it!
Shared on facebook!
Thanked my donors :)
Week Two and Three
Dear friends, family, OneGirl supporters, and adventure enthusiasts,
I would like to apologize as I have not been posting updates to my OneGirl blog as frequent as I had hoped. I wrote last from Rolla, MO, as we were nearing the end of our first week on the road. Since then we have traveled over 2,000 miles, gaining nearly 9,000 ft of elevation from Missouri to Colorado. We’ve made new friends and visited dear old friends. We’ve explored the second largest canyon in the United States and sledded down the largest sand dune in the United States. We’ve hiked to a snow dusted mountain top, a waterfall, and to ancient petroglyphs. If you’re interested in reading more about each of these adventures….see below!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro State Park is located south of Amarillo in Canyon, TX. Palo Duro Canyon is roughly 120 miles long making it the second largest in the United States. It was here that my Mom and I enjoyed an early morning sunrise, our first substantial hike to the parks #1 destination - a large Lighthouse shaped rock formation, and a relaxing afternoon in the sun painting and journaling.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is located in southern Colorado, just north of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It was here that my Mom and I rented sleds and spent the afternoon hiking and sliding down the enormous dunes. We also caught an amazing sunset.
Durango is located near the New Mexico border, in Southwestern Colorado. In order to get there from Great Sand Dunes you must cross over a portion of the Rocky Mountains on US 160 West. This pass is famously known as Wolf Creek Pass. The pass is nearly 40 miles long, with 7% grade slopes and sharp turns. Yes, we took Lenny over Wolf Creek Pass.
We spent a total of three nights in Durango where we ran necessary errands such as grocery shopping, visiting the car wash to clean Louise (our truck), and visiting an IceCream parlor. We also enjoyed hiking in the San Juan National Forest and a day trip to Telluride where we climbed over 1,000 ft to a magnificent waterfall.
Mesa Verde National Park
Our next stop, Mesa Verde National Park, was just thirty minutes away in a nearby town, Mancos. It was here we were able to explore Ancient Pueblo ruins and view petroglyphs.
September 29, 2020 - Week One
I’m writing all of you from Rolla, Missouri, somewhere I never thought I’d be; sitting at a picnic table looking out at a field heavy with hay bales. It has been just five days since my mom and I left on our journey. We have driven through Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri; taking both winding back roads and major interstates. We’ve witnessed the foliage change from deep reds and oranges, to bright greens, and then to nothing at all; soy and corn fields for hundreds of miles. We’ve listened to episodes of Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and The Moth Hour, a dozen chapters of Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” and of course, hours worth of our favorite band, Caamp. We woke the first morning to a puddle of water underneath our bed and the second morning to a seamless view of Lake Erie. My mom and I are new to this whole RV camping ordeal, but we have learned a GREAT DEAL in just five days. Of course we still have much to learn. The most important thing I have learned thus far is, that while RV-ing you must take your time. There are many important tasks to ensure you’ll have a safe and successful drive with the trailer or peaceful night at a campground. I am someone who constantly checks the time and creates schedules, but I am happy to revert back to the lifestyle I was gifted on Mountain Classroom. It is important sometimes to remind yourself to slow down. Take your time. Take in your surroundings.Share
September 19, 2020
September 6, 2020
Dear OneGirl supporters & adventure enthusiasts,
It has been several months since my last update. Parts of the world remain in lockdown due to COVID-19, while others have started to open up. There have been protests and riots related to the Black Lives Matter movement. In the United States we are preparing for a presidential election. Schools are opening under strict regulations. While some students brave college (COVID addition), I have chosen to take a gap year.
I will live in a 1969 Shasta Trailer with my mom, Ethney. We will drive across the country, seeking adventure wherever we are. This summer we have been working to refurbish the trailer; we’ve updated what is necessary while trying our best to keep it’s retro charm. There have been several setbacks, but we are getting close to our tentative departure date (September 25th).
Although this was a difficult decision to make, as I was excited to start my academic and social career at Sewanee, I feel it is the right one. Shortly after I made the decision to take a gap year, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to continue fundraising for OneGirl. I have been grappling with the idea of privilege and it is difficult to articulate what I am feeling but I would like to try my best to explain it to all of you. I understand that I am privileged to have received a strong education for eighteen years and to be given the opportunity to continue my education for another four. I understand that most girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda are considered lucky to receive an education for just a year. If someone were to say to a young girl from Sierra Leone or Uganda that they could receive an education as long as they wore a mask at all times and limited their social engagements, I bet you that young girl wouldn’t think twice. I understand that I am privileged to have the opportunity to take a break from my education because I would like a more “normal” college experience. I understand my privilege and I will use it to keep educating myself, educate others, and raise money for the girls who have been less fortunate than I.
Throughout the course of the year I will keep you all updated through blog entries and instagram (@onegirlvienna). I will wear my school dress while hiking and rock climbing. I will wear it while pumping gas and grocery shopping. I will wear it while cooking in the backcountry and while reading/writing/sketching in RV camps. I just might even wear it while sleeping.
June 4, 2020
May 24, 2020
While the objective of my original senior project proposal was exactly the same, to raise money for the education of girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda, my execution was not. I was supposed to rent a conversion van and travel, with my mom, to places such as Red Rocks, NV to rock climb or the Superstition Mountains to horseback ride and hike. The thought of completing a mini Mountain Classroom with my Mom, while raising money for girls' education, generated lots of excitement for us both. Although I am disappointed not to have been able to spend quality time with my mom, my excitement was only momentarily dampened; my COVID-19 approved senior project would allow for time in nature, enjoying the company of a friend or two, while still raising money for girls education.
Within the past fifteen days I have completed nine arduous hikes, survived two cliff jumping adventures, paddle bordered, wake surfed, and biked...all while wearing a blue and white checkered school dress. Most often, on these adventures, I was joined by Pernilla Shaw and sometimes Teagan Reilly. Other times I had the opportunity to adventure with my Mom, Timothy Bechtold, Cam Joslin, Nate Chickering, and Cassidy Joslin. On every adventure there were photos taken, stories shared, and music heard.
Since Mountain Classroom, I have been enthralled with the beauty out West; however, with the opportunity to spend time in parts of New Hampshire I have never seen before, I have gained a new found appreciation for its beauty, especially at this time of year. Although I am eager to explore different parts of the world, this experience has made me feel more grateful for the place I have lived the past eighteen years.
Of course, the objective of adventuring by day, was to capture photos in the OneGirl school dress and post them on social media. By doing so, I hoped to raise both awareness and money for girls' education. My fundraising goal was $1,000 dollars. After four short days that goal was quickly met and I felt it appropriate to raise the goal. After fifteen days I am proud to say that together we have raised $2,292 dollars, which is enough money to educate seven girls each for one year. Initially I was worried that fundraising money during such an uncertain time would be difficult, but I have learned that when you bring a global cause to a smaller community, with the power of social media, it is possible to raise awareness and money.
Another goal of mine when completing this project was to educate myself on girls education… I constantly questioned, “Why educate girls?” In my presentation I answer this question time and time again. I gained a wealth of knowledge from the OneGirl website itself, but also through reading articles and listening to podcasts. I would like to thank Caroline Murphy for aiding me in this initial research.
Although Senior Project is officially done tomorrow, I am not done learning about the power of educating girls or fundraising through the OneGirl organization. I feel so incredibly lucky to have received a strong primary and secondary education and even more lucky to further my education at Sewanee. To me, education is power. I want all girls to feel powerful and so, I have created a new goal. I will raise my fundraising goal to $5,000 dollars and I plan to have reached that goal by the time I graduate college.
May 23, 2020
May 21, 2020
On Tuesday, PJ, Teagan, and I hit the road for hike number seven: the Mt. Percival and Mt. Morgan loop. This hike was difficult with steep switchbacks and rocky terrain. It felt strange to be hiking in 60 degree weather, rather than the 40 degree weather we had gotten used to. After reaching the peak of Mt. Percival we stopped to enjoy the view (and snacks). The view of a distant Squam lake was similar to the one from our very first hike. Although that was only ten days ago, it feels like eons ago. We have accomplished a lot; ten adventure packed days and 1,799 dollars raised.
Yesterday, Wednesday, we were joined by the “Wild Woods” podcast crew. We hiked Artist Bluff and swam in the frigid waters of the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch.
Today - Thursday the 21st - Pj, Teagan, and I set out on route 93 North, yet again. We were planning on hiking Mt. Welch and Dicky, but upon arriving at the trailhead parking lot we were shocked to see over 30 cars. We are spoiled, having been able to hike on relatively open trails and we realize we are lucky to even be spending time in nature at a time like this, but we also didn’t want to be surrounded by so many people. So, we put on our thinking caps and before long we were headed to Livermore falls in Holderness, NH. A different sort of adventure: cliff jumping. On my initial Senior Project, out West, I would push myself out of my comfort zone by rock climbing and horseback riding. Cliff jumping is definitely also NOT in my comfort zone.
Teagan, with camera in hand, laying on the rocks below yelled “I’m ready when you guys are!” PJ counted to three, my heartbeat quickened… PJ jumped. I did not.
Then I thought, If young women in Sierra Leone and Uganda are fighting against all odds, against their government, or the beliefs of their elders - for an education to better themselves and provide for future generations...then I can do this.
I jumped, twice.
May 20, 2020
May 17, 2020
On Sunday PJ joined me in hiking North and Middle Sugarloaf in the White Mountains. The hike began river side; PJ and I bounded from rock to rock, avoiding the mud puddles between the rocks. After a few miles of flat land, the elevation began to climb, and so did we. There were even wooden ladders built into the steepest rock faces. This hike offers amazing views of vast green land and distant snow capped mountains. At the top we explored for hours, frolicking in our school dresses.
On Saturday I woke up early to a text from my mom proposing we hike the Proctor Ski Hill. Whether I’d like to admit it or not, my legs were still sore from the previous week of hiking. The Proctor ski hill seemed like a good change of pace: a short sprint, rather than a marathon. Although the view from the top of the ski hill is not as shockingly stunning as the view from my hike on Sunday, it is a view of my home. It has been so exciting to hike all over New Hampshire, exploring parts I never would have seen other wise, it is important to remember where home is. My home is Proctor and I must say at this time of year home looks pretty darn beautiful. I was grateful to share a moment on the ski hill, with my mom, as we are both moving on from our home at Proctor, this year. I am so grateful for every experience, class, teacher, coach, or relationship I have been gifted at Proctor. I am grateful for my education. I am hiking in a school dress for all of the girls who are not as fortunate as I have been, they deserve an education too!
May 16, 2020
May 15, 2020
Even though it is supposed to thunderstorm within the next hour and my legs ache from three days worth of arduous hiking, I can’t help but wish I was summiting a mountain in my school dress, sinking my teeth into a PB&J, listening to CAAMP while sprawled across a rock, soaking up the sun.
My friends, who have so graciously agreed to join me in these endeavors, and I have decided to take the day off from hiking. PJ, whose senior project is art focused, will likely spend her day beading or painting. Teagan, whose senior project is to convert and create recipes from an old bakery, will likely be baking. I am taking today as an opportunity to reflect. A lot has happened within the past three days. We have hiked the East & West Rattlesnake Trails, the Mt. Pemigewasset Indian Head Trail, and the Mt. Sunapee Lake Solitude Trail. In just three days we have raised 1,645 dollars, exceeding the expectations of my original goal. I would like to thank all twenty donors for their contribution; it means so much to me and even more to the girls who are now able to receive an education. The new fundraising goal is 2,000 dollars, which would give six girls from either Sierra Leone or Uganda the opportunity to receive an education for one year.
In my reflection today, I created an art piece: “What does your education mean to you?” I have been thinking about this question a lot throughout the past three days. Yesterday I republished a post from OneGirl on instagram that said, “when I put on my uniform, I feel like I am a person that will change this country in the future.” This was said by Adama, a OneGirl scholar. I feel similarly about my education. My education means that I have the ability to make changes in this world. I am a dreamer. Without an education, I would not be able to attempt making those dreams come true.
What does your education mean to you?
I urge you to think about this question. If you feel so inclined, message me on instagram (@onegirlvienna) or email me email@example.com. I would love to hear your thoughts and with your permission share them as well!
May 14, 2020
May 14th - Lake Solitude and Mt. Sunapee Hike (6.5 miles - 2,610 ft gain) 🐛📚🦋 Today I had the honor of hiking alongside adventure enthusiasts Teagan Reilly (on her 18th birthday) and Patty, her mom! So grateful for their love and support!
May 13, 2020
May 12, 2020
Hello Friends! Welcome back.
My senior project has just begun; I wish that I were updating you from White Sands, NM or Red Rocks, NV. Instead, I am in New Hampshire. Make no mistake, I will still be adventuring, wearing my school dress, and raising money for the education of girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone. Although I am sad not to be rock climbing, horseback riding, and hiking out West… I am excited to see parts of New Hampshire that I have never seen before. For the next two weeks I hope to hike every day that the weather permits. Each day I will pack my bag with my camera, my school dresses, OneGirl promotional posters, snacks, water, and a speaker for music. I will document my adventures through pictures and videos, posting on Instagram and occasionally updating you all through these blog posts.
Today I hiked the East & West Rattlesnake Trails in Holderness. This hike offered beautiful views of Squam Lake. Accompanying me on this hike were my friends and fellow adventure enthusiasts Teagan and PJ. We took photos, painted, listened to good music, shared our quarantine stories, laughed, and soaked up all the sunshine we could. Our education has offered us the opportunity to do all of these things. Our education allows us to feel empowered and eager to learn more. We are lucky, we are so lucky. We want all girls to have an opportunity for education, to feel empowered. I adventure in my school dress in hopes of promoting OneGirl and raising money for the girls who are not receiving an education.
Follow my journey on instagram - @onegirlvienna
Welcome! My story...
I am Vienna Marcus. I am a senior at a small private high-school in New Hampshire. I have been fortunate enough to receive a great education without anything standing in my way; however, I am aware that this is not the case for millions of girls.
Before I begin my journey in raising money for girls to gain an education, I want to make it clear that I am aware of my privilege.
I am not only privileged with an education, but extraordinary opportunities of adventure offered to me through my school. I have been lucky enough to travel to Guatemala on a service trip AND to drive across the country with nine other students, embarking on expeditions - canoeing the Rio Grande and hiking in the Superstition Mountains. This coming winter I will embark on yet another adventure, traveling with nine other students in Europe, studying art. I am privileged to have parents who support me, emotionally and financially.
In the Spring for a structured Senior Project, I have planned a two week adventure out west with my Mom! We will travel in a two-passenger conversion van through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. We will hike, horse back ride, rock climb, and swim…in our school dresses. We will also pump gas and grocery shop in our school dresses! We would like to take advantage of our privilege and raise money for those with less privileges, for the 130 million girls who are denied an education everyday simply because they are girls.
I will be documenting travel around the world - posting pictures and videos in my school dress. Join me. DO IT IN A DRESS and lets try to change the world, One Girl at a time!
Follow my journey on instagram @onegirlvienna
Thank you to my Sponsors
Hunter D Churchill
Your Biggest Fan
Maribeth & Paul
Joe & Ruth Trepanier
Patty And Henry Bechok