The Upper School’s Tartan Inclusion and Diversity Education (TIDE) student leadership group invited parents from all divisions to St. Margaret’s Library this week, where they led an insightful, engaging and inspiring discussion of their perspectives and experiences around diversity, equity and inclusion work at St. Margaret’s and beyond.
The event was well-attended and featured 10 students who are involved in TIDE. They took part in a panel moderated by St. Margaret’s Director of Equity and Inclusion Victor Cota, answering questions submitted ahead of time as well as questions asked by parents in attendance.
The students represent many different backgrounds and identities, and they shared their personal stories and explained how those stories motivated them to become involved with TIDE. One student noted how they want to build empathy within the school community, while another felt passionate about all students feeling a sense of belonging during their time at St. Margaret’s, inclusive of race, gender, faith, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
“The only way to make change is to be actively involved in it,” said junior Abby Sun.
The students also shared their perspective and advice on a number of different topics, including:
- Current events in the U.S. and around the world, such as the ongoing women’s rights struggle in Iran, and their perspective on those topics as students.
- Their thoughts on positive growth around DEI work at St. Margaret’s, as well as where they think the school could still improve.
- Advice for parents of younger students to foster belonging, kindness and acceptance of others as their children grow up.
- How TIDE reaches out to students in other divisions for educational programming, such as visiting a Lower School classroom to engage in a discussion about kindness and compassion, chapel homilies about equity and inclusion done in all divisions and adjusted for the given age group, and two students visiting a grade 3 classroom recently to talk about Lunar New Year.
The panel included students Grace Allen, Sophia Barnes, Emely Ceballos, Alex Kim, Leo Kitaen, Eileen Sadati, Elie Shook, Abby Sun, Jada Thompson, and Luciana Varkevisser.
“These TIDE students inspire me day in and day out,” Mr. Cota said. “This panel gave our parent community a glimpse into something that I get to see every single day: that these young adults are changemakers in the world. There is no doubt that they will have an impact on our future world, which of course is exciting in and of itself. But even more powerful is the fact that they are having that sort of transformative impact today.”
After the students finished their panel, many parents stayed in the Library to reflect, process and have a discussion with Mr. Cota.
“I want to thank the parents and community members who joined the workshop,” Mr. Cota said. “I was inspired by their dedication, sense of community, and commitment to our collective work as partners in raising our children.”
TIDE is one of the Upper School’s seven leadership groups, which serve an important role for students to improve their school community, work collaboratively with peers and teachers, and hone their own leadership skills.