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Diversity Conference Offers Middle Schoolers Thoughtful Conversation, Bonding

A group of 15 Middle School students traveled to the Haverford School this week to participate in a Middle School Diversity Conference with MS faculty chaperones Victor Cirilo and Deva Watson.

This year's Haverford Middle School Diversity Conference focused on the theme, "The Power of Sharing Our Stories". Over five hundred students came together from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware to meet for a day of thoughtful conversations, bonding, empowerment and reflection. Students attended two special keynote presentations led by author, master storyteller and professor Dr. Javier Avila, and poet, writer and educator Greg "Just Greg" Corbin. 

Middle School students participated in small group conversations led by high school students from local independent schools. They had an opportunity to connect, engage, and learn with and from each other as they considered what they could do to help their school communities become more inclusive.

Middle School Art Teacher Deva Watson was particularly moved by "The Trouble With My Name", Dr. Avila's presentation. "Part comedy, part spoken word, and part poetry, [Dr. Avila's presentation] was rooted in the notion that when we share our stories it allows us the opportunity to further develop empathy towards others," Ms. Watson reflected.

As part of Princeton Day School's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the opportunity to attend the Middle School Diversity Conference provided this group of Middle School students with a safe space to continue developing knowledge, skills and perspectives to become catalysts for change. The following students participated:

7th graders: Brooke Bartlett, Humzah Ladiwala, Natalia Soffer, Claire Takeuchi and Aiden Wang

8th graders: Mikayla Blakes, Kingsley Hughes, Adya Jha, Shivani Manikandan, Arun Patel, Lea Jade Richards, Simon Saldana, Harleen SandhuAadi Shankar and Eric Wu

Contributed by Victor Cirilo, Middle School History teacher and MS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator

Photo: Dr. Javier Avila, center, with PDS Middle School attendees.

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