I have recently read letterscriticizing the use of the word “girls” in the newly named Maine Girls’ Academy.

As the parent of a freshman at MGA, let me be clear – my daughter is a girl. I am uncertain as to why anyone would consider the word “girl” to be a negative term.

Perhaps it dates back to the time when someone saying that “you play like a girl” was considered an insult. I would like to think that we’ve moved beyond that to see that girls are strong, smart, powerful and capable in all that they do. It would seem that not everyone has embraced the power and value of girls.

The world begins pushing womanhood on girls before they’ve left elementary school. All too often, they are taught to worry about how they look instead of what they think and to be concerned with the appearance of their body instead of focusing on all that it can do.

I chose to send my daughter to MGA because I knew that she could be a girl there. I knew that she could learn like a girl, play sports like a girl, make friends like a girl and become a leader like a girl.

The girls of MGA have handled the name change with the strength, courage and grace that is characteristic of the school. I place my trust in the Maine Girls’ Academy as the only school in the state whose entire educational program has been designed with girls in mind.

And I am hopeful that as the incredible girls who attend MGA make their way out into the world as women, they will put an end to any question about the value of doing things like a girl.

Cara Biddings

South Portland