New Hampton School
Students Participate in Diversity Conference
While most of the New Hampton School community was sleeping on Sunday morning at 7 am, NHS students (as pictured from left to right) Shoshanah Gordon '13, Krystina McClure '13, Briana Cardwell '13, Nicole Stepanek '13, Peter Gorman '12, Marcel Johnson '15, Barrington Alston '12, and Kayla Kommit '13 were waking up at St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island in preparation for a full day of speakers, performers, workshops, and mingling amongst 400 other independent school students from throughout New England at the AISNE High School Students of Color Conference. Faculty members Mr. Kris McClure and Ms. Michelle Cote accompanied the group.
The conference, though "planned for students of color, also invites white student allies to attend, particularly those those who demonstrate a clear interest and commitment to social justice issues."
Events started Saturday evening with award-winning author, educator, speaker, poet, and National Teacher of the Year, Dr. Sharon Draper. Draper related to students through speaking candidly of decades in the classroom and meeting Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama. She also recalled how she got her start as an author as result of accepting a bullheaded student's challenge: "Why don't you write something?"
Students were then rewarded with a well attended dance that provided them with the opportunity to socialize and meet students from other schools.
Documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt presented to students Monday morning, expressing his love for hip hop while also challenging students with questions about the effect the music's messages of hyper-masculinity and objectification of women have on perpetuating sexism in America.
In the writing workshop, titled "Power: What Is It Good For?" with poet, musician, and national performer Adriel Luis, students considered the different types of power that exist in the world, how it can both uplift and destroy communities, and the ability and responsibility we all have to stand up for our beliefs. By the end of the workshop, all students had created poems identifying their own personal power.
"I didn't realize I was a poet," NHS student Peter Gorman '12 stated after his experience in the workshop.
Examples of other workshops NHS students attended included "Black Men in White Schools," "Closing the Achievement Gap Between Black and White Students," "How Did You Get Here?" "What is Your Story?" and "Brother to Sister: Can We Talk?"
Senior Barrington Alston said he was "surprised to have enjoyed interacting with so many different students that I didn't think I would" and reflected on being so much more than just the basketball player he feels he's so often seen as.
Briana Cardwell organized the students for the event, was especially thankful to the Office of Student Life as well as the World Languages and History Departments for supporting this opportunity.
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New Hampton School
70 Main Street
New Hampton, NH 03256