On April 14th, the Hotchkiss school sponsored the Asian American Footsteps Conference (AAFC) for Asian, Asian-American, and mixed-heritage Asian students.
As one of the co-heads of Tabor’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance and organizers of our upcoming Pride Week, I wanted to share my experience within the LGBTQ+ community and why Pride is so important to me.
My journey on the path to education as a personal life mission and career choice has an origin that spans long before my earliest memories. Did it begin when I learned to speak my first words? Did it begin when I learned to walk? Did it begin when I entered pre-school? The answers to these questions ultimately do not matter. What does matter is that, somewhere along the way, I learned that knowledge is not just a noun – some thing to be passively obtained. Knowledge is a verb – a communal act of discovery whose true power cannot be realized without intention. I became an educator, in large part, because of my own teachers’ investment of time and genuine care in both my family and me.
The following are excerpts from chapel speeches given by Tabor's 2017 participants in the Student Diversity Leadership Conference. SDLC is a multiracial, multicultural gathering of upper school student leaders (grades 9 - 12) from across the United States. SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participants will develop effective cross-cultural communication skills, better understand the nature and development of effective strategies for social justice, practice expression through the arts, and learn networking principles and strategies.
There is no better reflection of the health of a school than the health of its student culture. What are Tabor students like when adults aren’t around? Do students feel safe to be themselves? What do students tolerate from one another and where do they draw the line? What are those unwritten student codes that guide decision-making on a daily basis on campus? What kinds of things are met with, “We don’t do that here.”?
This article originally appeared in Tabor's student newspaper, The Log.
Following Alexis Jones’ talk on campus, one of Tabor Academy's newest faculty members Emily Kaplan joined a group of students living in Baxter in a discussion about the feminism talk. Beginning with their feelings on the speech, the conversation quickly turned into much more. Topics such as gender, sexuality, feminism, race and diversity were brought to the table and, when it was time for everyone to go to study hall, the participants begged Ms. Kaplan to continue these talks.
by Anika Walker Johnson, Dean of Multicultural Education and Community Life
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him...We need not wait to see what others do.” (Mahatma Ghandi)
In 2013, Tabor Academy hired educational consultant, Christine Savini of Diversity Directions to conduct a school-wide diversity and inclusion climate assessment to enhance diversity at Tabor. The purpose of this assessment was to help us as a school community to identify areas of both weakness and strength. We continue to be a work in progress as we grow toward becoming “a community where all members have voice, are given respect and see their identities reflected and affirmed in the curriculum, co-curriculum, physical and virtual environments of the school”. Though growth can be unsettling and not as fast as we would like at times, we are leaning into that discomfort to effect the changes that we know are necessary.
Director of Service Learning, Lauren Corliss, pictured above, has accomplished a tremendous feat! There are over 400 students out in the wider Southcoast community right now cleaning up beaches and roadways, assisting the elderly, tutoring children, planting and creating gardens, painting and beautifying parks, repairing sports equipment and facilities for our local rec department, delivering clothes to the needy, sorting books for a used book drive at the local library, helping at the recycling center, visiting the elderly, even baking and delivering cookies! Lauren uncovered options, sold our volunteer service aptitudes to agency's, and helped us to arrange the transportation to all these sites. No small feat!
Each advisor group was asked to come up with a project and work together to accomplish their goals today. Additionally, our international student community, in celebration of International Week, recruited our newly enrolled international students half a world away to join our community's service efforts today and share with us what they have accomplished.
Of course, the students are excited to do something different on a beautiful spring day, but chances are it will mean much more than an alternative to class. Learning how to help, knowing you can, doing good just because you can, these are empowering life lessons. They are important lessons for all of us.
I encourage you to join us today and comment here or to add photos to our Tabor Academy Alumni Facebook page of the ways you work to serve your community. Tabor alumni are incredibly generous with their talents and it is an important part of the legacy and reach of our school.
Here's to the collective good Tabor Academy can spread worldwide!
Happy Service Day!
Gifts to Give is one of our service partners year-round. They collect used toys and household items and recondition them so that they maybe given with pride to needy families. They incorporate many volunteers, adults and children alike, in their joyful mission of service and recycling.