Thayer Academy was well represented at the 2019 People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference held in early December in Seattle, Washington.
In all, eight people from the Thayer community — six students and two faculty members — joined more than 7,000 faculty and students from independent schools from around the world.
"This is by far my favorite conference every year," said Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion / Director of International Student Enrollment Jenn Welch. "I get the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues from across the country. We share stories and best practices and ways to engage in challenging conversations that come up in our schools."
Conference participants spent three days attending workshops on diversity, leadership, and social justice, said Welch, adding that this allowed for meaningful conversations to take place. Welch particularly enjoyed time connecting with other participants in the transracially adopted affinity space, a group unlike any other she's been a part of.
Middle School Counselor and Project RISE Executive Director Jarvis Wyche joined Welch on the trip as did the following students: Karina Kilburn '20; Austin Bennett '20; Drew Bennett '21; Nadia Pena Cruz '20; Jovanna Walker '21; and Sola Osinubi '20.
"SDLC was truly an amazing experience," said Walker. "I was given the space to be around like-minded people who wanted to change the world, and I learned how to facilitate discussions and lead various activities."
For Walker, highlights included the keynote speakers — Joy DeGruy and Schuyler Bailar — and a black affinity group where speakers were passionate about their topics and determined to impact as many people as they could.
"The black affinity group was a really supportive space to be in and made me feel proud of my different identities," said Walker.
Welch said she enjoyed traveling with such an engaged, open-minded group of students. Wyche noted how impressed he was at the students' willingness to be vulnerable, practice humility, and nurture the leadership qualities needed "to build the Thayer community we all hope to create."
Eight members of the Thayer community recently attended the 2019 People of Color Conference and Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Seattle. From left are: Middle School Counselor and Project RISE Executive Director Jarvis Wyche; Karina Kilburn '20; Austin Bennett '20; Drew Bennett '21; Nadia Pena Cruz '20; Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion / Director of Student Enrollment Jenn Welch; Jovanna Walker '21; and Sola Osinubi '20.