Beaver students at SDLC in Tampa. Fla.

Students reflect on the 2015 Student Diversity Leadership Conference

Six Beaver students attended the 2015 Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in Tampa, Fla. this past December. An inclusive, multiracial, and multicultural gathering of student leaders grade 9-12 from around the country, SDLC focuses on self-reflection, allyship, and community building. It is led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators who help participants develop an appreciation of their own identities; build effective cross-cultural communication skills; better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice; and practice expression through the arts – all while networking with their peers.

Students were encouraged to speak up and tell their stories and to open up in new and – sometimes scary – ways.

“The atmosphere and vibe of the conference was intense, but in a powerful, emotional, and exciting way,” said Emma Welch ’16. “Everyone was so willing and excited to open up and share things about themselves. It was really a great experience.”

Shantal Risk ’17 said the experience was one of the greatest things to happen to her.

“It’s the best smack in the face you could receive,” she said. “SDLC opened my eyes to issues I had never really thought about before, making me question myself as a person and a student.”

On the last day of the conference, students participated in a workshop with their teachers – who were simultaneously attending the People of Color Conference – where they discussed topics specific to Beaver.

“It gave me a lot of insight about the teacher perspectives relating to topics like race and identity,” Welch said. “Both the students and teachers left the activity with a new found appreciation and understanding of one another.”

Beaver attendees: Simone Alexander ’16, Emma Welch ’16, Jessical Sidell ’17, Jackson Wu ’17, Jabari Johnson ’17, and Shantal Risk ’17. 

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