School hosts Pollyanna Conference


Josephine Amakye ’21, Diana Castellanos ’20 and Daniel Varela ’18 chat at the Pollyanna Conference. Credit:Kaitlin Musante/Chronicle

Valerie Velazquez

The Middle School hosted the inaugural Pollyanna Conference, which aims to start conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion within local schools through workshops and discussions, on Saturday.

This year’s conference focused on race, privilege and community building.

“I definitely think it’s a step in the right direction because it gives us the opportunity to come together and talk together, and to see that any kind of challenges that we have in our school, other schools also have those challenges,” Spanish teacher and attendee Veronica Cherry said.

Keynote speaker Tricia Rose, Professor of Africana Studies and Director of the Center for Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, discussed the importance of diversity in school environments.

Each participating school came in PODS, which included administrators, alums, current students and other members of the school community. After meeting in groups to discuss problems concerning race, gender and diversity, students shared their ideas for solutions to the conference audience.

Within the POD speeches, students identified steps to take action by brainstorming ideas as group. They collaborated on a final action plan by finding the overlap and common themes within the individual ideas.

Students also shared their experiences in a panel setting before attending breakout sessions.

“I think it makes all the adults in the room even more inspired to help out, and it’s a great space for the kids,” upper school dean Chris Jones said.
The evening concluded with a wine and cheese reception for adults.