Bright-colored nail polishes, restaurant gift certificates and other “girly” accessories will be among the gifts that many young and not-so-young women will receive April 27 during St. Mathias High School’s “Making a Difference” breakfast.Although it is the second annual mother-daughter gathering and fundraiser that includes a fashion show, it is important to its organizers because it takes place as the all-girls Downey school transitions to become a co-educational institution starting next August.The occasion is a “special time that girls can spend with their moms and other women who can be or are their role models,” said Anita Rojes, co-chair along with Nek Elefante, and mother of senior Linda Vanessa Rojes.Among those role models are arts teacher Ann Storc, who will receive a special recognition, and keynote speaker Leah Darrow, former participant in the TV reality show “America’s Next Top Model.”Storc was selected for her “dedication and passion for Catholic education. She was committed 40 years to serving Catholic schools, 38 of those at St. Matthias,” said Erick Rubalcava, principal. “She has inspired hundreds of students who remain connected with her even after they graduate to pursue careers in the arts.”The new logo for St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy was designed and created by student Iliana Salcedo (class of 1993), one of Storc’s former students who works in the graphic arts field.“Although she never had any daughters of her own, she has made an impact in the lives of the many girls like only a mother could,” added Rubalcava. As an independent arts and crafts professional, Storc has participated in several art exhibits, including one on women artists’ view on immigration.Rojes said that aside from spending quality and fun time with their daughters, organizers would also like to stretch their bond with their daughters by stressing the importance of faith values on issues that affect many girls today, including self-image, sexuality, and suicidal ideas.“Girls express more easily their feelings than boys; they internalize and then speak,” said Rubalcava, former principal of co-educational Junipero Serra High School in Gardena.The principal admitted that working with girls was “all new to me.” As he and his leadership team learned more about the female students’ and teachers’ concerns, they developed ways to address issues and find faith-based answers, inviting the students to participate.Thus was born the Pure Love Club, where Rubalcava gathers with students to talk about specific issues, and MNM (Mystery No More) Mondays, when religion teachers answer questions to students about any of their concerns.Rojes, who has had two sons educated at St. John Bosco High School in neighboring Bellflower, said the spiritual education provided at St. Matthias has being a great help in raising her only daughter.Student Rojes said students at St. Matthias get help to “learn to figure out who they are, where they fit in social life,” because many “have put on masks,” losing their identity. “It takes a lot of work to come back and find out who they really are.”In an effort to support the school’s programs, organizers of the annual breakfast thought having keynote speaker Darrow is “providential.”With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and working on a master’s degree in theology, Darrow uses her personal testimony as a former model strongly involved in the fashion industry to talk about lifestyle choices, and the Christian perspective to fashion, relying on Scripture.“We hope the speaker will influence the girls in the way they dress, act and the language they use,” said Anita Rojes.Her daughter Vanessa, who commended her mom for “showing me [by getting involved in the event’s organization] how much she does for me,” said she was looking forward to hear wise advice that will help with life’s practical issues, such as how to dress and behave for a job interview.Event organizers are anticipating gathering more than 200 participants at the event that will include 14 vendors.St. Matthias High School alumni, especially former students of Ann Storc, are welcomed to attend. For more information email Ana Rojes, [email protected].{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0329/spstmatthias/{/gallery}