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Students Participate in Diversity Leadership Conference

Rudy Brandl

Four Upper School students participated in a Student Diversity Leadership Conference in December. The weeklong online conference was an enlightening experience for W+H students, pictured clockwise from top left, Gbemi Olarewaju ’24, Annie Gu ’23, Phyllis Liu ’23 and Krishna Patel ’22. 

The SDLC was part of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (POCC), which was attended by Ana De León, Associate Director of Admission.

POCC is the flagship of NAIS’s commitment to equity and justice in teaching, learning, and organizational development. The mission of the conference was to provide a safe space for leadership and professional development for people of color, and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. 

The POCC equips educators at every level, from teachers to trustees, with knowledge and skills to improve the interracial, interethnic, and intercultural climate in their schools, as well as the attending academic, social-emotional, and workplace performance outcomes for students and adults alike. 

In an engaging virtual space, the 2021 Online POCC offered thought-provoking workshops, inspiring speakers, affinity group spaces, and more.

“SDLC was an unforgettable conference,” Gbemi said. “Our groups took part in emotional, challenging, yet ultimately educational conversations. We spoke about various topics, from critical race theory to sexual orientation and core-cultural identifiers, among many others. Hearing the perspectives of other students at independent schools around the globe with different identities allowed me to take a step back and learn from them. The conversations in these safe spaces with other students who want to improve their communities forward changed the way I see diversity and how to combat issues that arise around it. The conference was truly inspiring, and the things I learned and the people I met truly changed me for the better.”