This past weekend, six students from the Middle School had the opportunity to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Retreat with 150 other middle school students from across the Pacific Northwest to discuss finding their voices and how to be leaders in their communities. The overnight retreat, which took place at University Prep, placed students in ‘family groups’ with 10-12 students from a variety of Independent Schools. These groups spent hours over the course of two days learning about one another, discussing their views, and attending workshops together. These breakout sessions educated students on a variety of issues including how to be an ally, gender identity, the role socio-economics can play in one’s life, how to speak out against stereotypes and micro-aggression, and cultivating allyship for students with disabilities. In addition, students also heard from two keynote speakers on how to find their voices and make a change in the world. They also left the event with personal signed copies of Laurie Ann Thompson’s Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters. It was certainly a jam-packed weekend for these students!
After spending most of the time with other students, split from their Westside School peers, students came back together to work collectively on what they each had gleaned from their workshops and discussions in order to figure out a plan to bring back to Westside School. After discussing what they wanted to do once they were back on campus, the students bravely went on stage to share their plans with the rest of the attendees at the conference.
These Westside School Middle School students will be meeting with their faculty representative, Middle School Humanities teacher Kendra Dixon, to begin moving forward with their plans to help make positive change in the Middle School. Stay tuned for more details!