Although the 2020-21 school year has not yet begun, high school student leaders and a few staff members joined together to begin dialogue around enhancing positive connections surrounding cultural diversity. Mostly in person, with a few people attending via videoconference, the group discussed goals for uniting the high school community and creating an even more accepting culture which embraces learning about one another’s differences.
High School Principal Patrick DiClemente served as meeting chairperson, providing an opportunity for every attendee to share ideas and concerns. He said that although the group would discuss many topics, promoting kindness would be a priority. “We want to make sure that we use kind words and acknowledge when we say the wrong things.”
Ideas included adding opportunities for discussion across all grade levels and as a school community, promoting clubs to students and the associated benefits of joining/expanding our understanding of others, and ongoing attention to the selection of literature and resources available to students through the humanities curriculum and research pathways.
High School Assistant Principal and Coordinator of English, K-12 Lisa Czerniecki said, “We are trying to bring in different viewpoints from around the globe.”
Bryan Sarandrea, Coordinator of Social Studies, K-12, said the social studies classes often provide the first opportunity to discuss politics and culture. “It is important for students to participate in respectful debate and draw their own conclusions,” he explained.
Rising senior Sabrina Raichoudhury, cofounder of the Global Studies Society Club said she hopes more students will join this club, which after only one year already has 25 members. The club, she explained, would encourage students from various cultures to give presentations, sharing their history, stories and experiences.
Junior Josephine DeBono started mentoring students whose first language was not English and said she hopes to bridge the social gap that sometimes exists.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth E. Graham expressed his strong commitment to fostering a welcoming school community that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and equity for all students.