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April 13, 2017

Wellington students and faculty participated in an all-day, student-led diversity conference “Different Together!” With attendees from Summit Country Day in Cincinnati as well as Columbus School for Girls and Columbus Academy, the event focused on connecting participants with one another, engaging in thoughtful discussion, playing games, and reflecting on many aspects of identity.

Below are reflections on the event provided by Abhi Ganesh ‘18:

On behalf of the group of students who attended the diversity conference this past weekend, I thank you and all involved on making the event possible. The students from Columbus Academy [the event hosts] were very well organized and polite. They created a comfortable environment which enabled everyone to share their opinions nonchalantly. I was a beginner to all the activities and topics covered at the conference but some of my peers had done an activity or one similar. A memorable activity that we did was the fishbowl where we sat in a circle and as a race/ethnic group is called they would go to the middle of the circle and speak on the question asked aloud. Activities involving gender roles and homophobia were also conducted. But the most important event was the icebreaker. The ice breaker allowed us to become comfortable with each other and it created the mellow environment in which everyone was able to freely express themselves. The ice breaker was called “where the great wind blows” and it is very similar to musical chairs. The chairs stay constant in a circle and there is a person in the middle that says “The great wind blows for everyone who…” and then says any characteristic that is true to the person and those who share that characteristic have to get up and find a different seat and the odd one out goes to middle and repeats the statement.

When I asked my fellow attendees about the event they said it was overall an amazing experience. Some of the words used to describe the event by others were: uplifting, informative, woke, fun, interesting, friendly, and calming. The three schools became most comfortable during our lunch break when we played a lively game of ten fingers. The event acted as a place for all of us to express our opinions on situations that are especially prevalent in our lives, as well as topics heavily covered in the news. All in all this powerful event was a great opportunity to further Wellington’s accepting ideals and the diversity of thoughts in our community.

Many of the Wellington students who attended the conference are also active members of our school’s ADL, or Anti-Defamation League’s “No Place for Hate” School, initiative. “The day provided an opportunity for those who participated in SDLC together to reconnect and then bring more students into the fold of their diversity work,” Upper School English Teacher Catherine Dison P ‘21 said. “Even as participants, our students were leaders in discussions and other activities, fostering an atmosphere of engagement and inclusion.”

Joining Dison at the event was School Counselor Craig Jones and the following students:

Lily O’Brien ‘20
India Carter ‘19
Sarah Abdelbaki ‘18*
Becky Carr ‘18*
Abhi Ganesh ‘18
Henry Gottschlich ‘18
Meghana Menta ‘18*
Ryan Wise *18*

*indicates students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conference in December 2016

Upper School Different Together Diversity Conference

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