Written By: Stephanie Zhang ’21 (Web Staff Writer)
Diversity allows one to meet people of different cultures, backgrounds, and situations. Here at Loomis, 26% of our student body is of color and 16% are international students. However, diversity is not solely defined by the color of one’s skin or where one comes from.
On Sunday, April 15, fourteen students and two faculty advisors from Loomis Chaffee attended the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools Student Diversity Leadership Conference at Hotchkiss with more than 400 other students and teachers.
The conference, composed around the theme of Breaking Boundaries: Identity and Intersectionality, began with welcoming remarks from a couple of different speakers, a performance from the Hotchkiss Gospel Choir, and a presentation by the Keynote Speaker Dr. Courtney Marshall, an African-American English teacher at Phillips Exeter.
Azaan Malik ‘21, a Loomis participant, remarked, “The keynote speaker talked about how it’s different for people who have two identities. She said she had a hard time fighting for both her female rights and black rights. She felt she had to choose a side; this was a new problem I learned in the conference.”
Following the opening ceremony, all the students and teachers were broken up into multiple groups based on age, experience, and the school you attended. My group had freshmen, sophomore, and junior students from Kent, Choate, Taft, Avon Old Farms, and others. In these groups, our student facilitators led discussions about sexuality, gender roles, race, economic status, and other aspects that define one’s identity. I realized that the word “diversity” includes various aspects of one’s life. Overall, Loomis students walked away from the conference with alternative perspectives on controversial topics.
Azaan Malik ‘21 stated, “At the conference, I learned how many different identities impact individual lives. One specific question that resonated with me is, ‘have you ever felt objectified,’ and on one side were all the girls and the other were all the boys. This question really opened up a new perspective to not just me but all the other male participants. The overall experience was wonderful, and especially my group made my time the most informational and beneficial.”
Alejandro Rincon ‘21 commented, “My experience at CT SDLC was very cool and eye-opening. I learned that even people who go to private schools like LC feel like they are given less opportunities based on the color of their skin. I also found that the diverse backgrounds represented at the conference affected the perspective of what I thought would be a straightforward question.”
Jet Elbualy ‘18 remarked, “The experience of going to SDLC for the second time was a really amazing one. Being surrounded by seniors and being able to talk about our trepidations and excitements about college was very helpful, as well as being able to workshop ideas for our own schools and to network with other students.”