Tower Hill Students Lead Diversity Workshops at the "All For One Conference"
On Saturday, March 3rd, a group of six Tower Hill students (AJ Carter, Justin Hicks, Cat Glen, Janice Szeto, Sarah Kreshtool and Caroline Godden) and Jorge Pardo, our Director of Multicultural Development, participated in the thirteenth annual All for One Conference at the Springside School in Philadelphia.
This conference is designed for and by students in grades 9-12 from independent schools in the greater Philadelphia area. The conference brings together students, parents, and faculty from approximately fifty schools in order to share ideas around the concepts of multiculturalism and diversity.
Tower Hill students led two of the eleven workshops. In the morning session, Janice Szeto led a very interesting workshop entitled “First Generation Americans: Our Experience in an Independent School from an Asian-American Perspective.” Janice led her group in examining and sharing the challenging experiences of first generation Americans at independent schools. Even though her group was small, Janice developed a strong bond with the students and faculty present in her workshop.
During the afternoon session, a TH team made up of Cat Glen, AJ Carter and Justin Hicks led an exciting and probably the most popular workshop of the day: “Dating Road Blocks.” In this workshop, our leaders led a group of about 25-30 students in exploring the problems that come along with dating people from another race, religion, and culture. The best part of the workshop, according to Cat Glen, occurred when they divided the room by placing the boys and girls on opposite sides of the room. Then, each group had to talk about the same topic while the other one was forced to listen silently and without any interruptions. Cat stated that some people had a hard time containing themselves, which made for interesting debates.
Our students also attended other workshops, such as "Breaking Down Barriers About Sexual Orientation" and "Code Switching." The conference's main speaker was Congressman Chaka Fattah from Philadelphia, a candidate for the 2007 Mayor of Philadelphia race. Overall, this conference was a remarkable experience for our students, who were not only exposed to important and engaging multicultural and global discussions, but who were also put in leadership roles for the first time in their lives. Cat Glen, who attended her first diversity workshop, said: "The diversity trip was an incredible experience. I look forward to doing it again next year." As our commitment to diversity continues to grow in the upper school, I expect an even greater commitment from Tower Hill students at this remarkable conference next year.
By Jorge Pardo, Director of Multicultural Development