Student Diversity Leadership Conference

December 11, 2021

From November 29th to December 3rd, five students including this year’s SGY2 Diversity prefects had the opportunity to participate in the virtual National Association of Independent Schools [NAIS] Student Diversity Leadership Conference [SDLC].

A spokesperson said, “The conference ‘is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders [grades 9-12] from across the U.S. and abroad.’ This is one of the many opportunities our students and staff will have as we continue our work on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion [DEI] at Saltus.

“SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. The conference is “led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles. In addition to large group sessions, SDLC “family groups” and “home groups” allow for dialogue and sharing in smaller units.”

Massassi Maxwell-Smith & Olivia Currelly

Massassi Maxwell-Smith & Olivia Currelly Bermuda December 2021

One of the SGY2 Diversity prefects, Massassi Maxwell-Smith stated that “SDLC has been a life changing experience. I have had the chance to learn about people’s perspectives on a broader scale and how to handle conflicts without putting my safety in harm’s way as well as shift my own views on certain racial topics. SDLC has educated me so much within the three days I’ve participated in this programme, and I am very grateful for this experience.”

SGY1 student, Joanna Santiago, who also participated shared that she “thoroughly enjoyed the SDLC conference. I met so many new people, learned valuable life skills and ways to increase diversity awareness and acceptance. I cannot wait to have the chance to attend next year’s SDLC conference.”

Oscar Harrison, SGY1 student, said that “SDLC is an awesome, creative experience that has opened a lot of peoples’ minds to the ability to respectfully connect with other opinions and to embrace their own. The ability to have those discussions is helping the next generation create change. Everyone is so lovely and beautiful and it’s an amazing community full of fun activities. There are norms that we follow to remind us how to respect and make the most of the conversations. We all work together to spread how we feel, from our own experiences and it creates this unspoken bond that I love. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and I recommend anyone else who has the opportunity to take it.”

Wesley Simon, Assistant Director of Senior School shared that she is “so pleased that some of our students were able to attend the NAIS SDLC conference this year. The students participated in a variety of workshops each day and also had the opportunity to attend an affinity group for the first time.” She continued to express how committed the students were to the experience and they are all excited to bring everything they learned back to the Saltus community. Wesley and six members of our faculty also attended the virtual NAIS People of Color Conference at the same time. All of the faculty felt that it was a tremendous experience and were so glad to be able to participate in the conference.”

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