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Harrison Student Spearheads 'Operation Beautiful'

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, it's Harrison High School's Caroline Gaeta. The junior arranged her own grassroots movement known as "Operation Beautiful," which hit the high school on Wednesday.

Gaeta encouraged all female students and faculty members at the high school to show up to class Wednesday without any makeup on their faces.

"Many teenage girls struggle with their self-esteem," Gaeta said. "This project was designed to help girls who hide behind their makeup realize that beauty is more than what we all see on the outside. Our goal is to boost self confidence."

The project started off as part of Gaeta's creative, action and service requirement for an International Baccalaureate diploma and blossomed into a more organic initiative with legs, Gaeta said. Girls from the high school met for several months to plan for what "Operation Beautiful" could accomplish.

Earlier this week, students at the high school filled out "compliment cards" for their fellow classmates including friends or anonymous students. Each card included compliments that read, "You are beautiful because..." and each was delivered with a red ribbon to symbolize "Operation Beautiful.”

The school said the project received "overwhelming" support from both students and faculty members. Gaeta said she hopes to inspire mothers and students to take part in a more engaging conversation about inner-beauty.

"We want to show girls that beauty in not only skin deep," Gaeta said. "We are hoping to make a statement that says, 'I am beautiful on the inside and that is all that matters.'"

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