Upper School ‘I Am’ Activity

By Joe Christy, Director of Student Engagement 

The US Hiatt Center Institute workshop #4: ‘I Am’ Activity, students and faculty engaged in a guided conversation about identity, where they were asked to complete the sentence, “I am …”

On Friday, October 7, Ms. Skinner and I hosted an event as part of Beaver’s ongoing work with identity, equity, and inclusion. About thirty students and faculty joined us. Participants were divided into three groups led by student facilitators from the junior class: Dylan Curran, Sofia Cabral, Ford Chope, Sydney Rosensweig, and Rebecca Barnes. The first activity gave participants one minute to complete the following statement with descriptors.

I am …

Afterward, many shared their words, explored commonalities, and made other observations. One student shared that this workshop helped him learn more about himself and who he really is. Another student shared that she got to hear from many of her peers about how they identify and view themselves. After the group shared, the facilitators asked the students to repeat this exercise.

For the second activity, each person finished “I am from statements.”

I am From …

I come from … (place)

My people are … (adjectives)

We all share … (qualities)

A meaningful event for us is … (event)

When we get together we … (verbs)

If you walk by you will hear … (sounds)

You will see … (sights)

The smell of … (food)

Reminds me of … (person)

Who always tells me/ told me “ …” (phrase)

This is where I come from … (repeat the place from the first line)

Participants were encouraged to use one or more words for each blank and share all or some of their work with their groups. They then discussed patterns, common themes, and differences. One student observed that for some students identity is expressed by what they look like on the outside while others express identity through locations, artifacts, and food that is a part of their culture.

As we began this workshop, the student facilitators asked everyone to introduce themselves: name, grade or years at Beaver, and preferred pronouns. They also reviewed the group norms created at the “Facilitating Conversations about Identity” event in September.

We will continue to affirm identity, build community, and cultivate leadership among students during our next function in the winter term. Students also have the opportunity to explore these and other aspects of equity and inclusion in their courses, advisory, the monthly affinity group gatherings, and the Hiatt Center workshops.

UPCOMING EVENTS: In coordination with the Parent Association and Erica DeRosa, Liz Skinner, and I will host an activity for adults in the community on January 17. More details to follow soon.

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