For the second year in a row, Headmaster Chris Torino, Trustee Melissa Irving Christensen ’00 and Dean of Student Life Chris Howes attended the Future of Diversity Symposium (FDS16) at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. This year, they also brought two Cushing students: senior Nasir Bly and junior Yashi Thakurani.
“We were thrilled to bring students this year, as it allows for adults and students to learn from one another, and to develop the skills that are critical to effective leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion work,” said Mr. Howes. “Young people are the direct beneficiaries of the learning and living community that schools strive to create. They, often better than we, are able to recognize that the principles of equity and social justice must be lived in every aspect of school life. This event engaged the student voice by identifying the culture and the needs of individual institutions, and we hope it helped the students see themselves as partners and practitioners in this work.”
During the three-day event, students and adults participated both separately and together in workshops and activities around diversity, equity, and inclusion in independent schools. Students were able to action-plan with adults and set goals and objectives for this academic year and beyond.
Ideas formed include: starting NODS (National Online Diversity Symposium) in which attendees will design and implement an online forum with five other schools, with students meeting online six times throughout the year to discuss issues involving diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yashi plans to organize and implement various workshops and forums for girls at Cushing to encourage women's health and leadership, while Nasir hopes to form affinity groups on campus and help establish a diversity committee that includes students, faculty, administrators, and board members. We are exited for these ideas, plus others, that will push Cushing into being a more inclusive and mindful environment.
After serving on the steering committee for a year to design the student aspect of FDS16, Mr. Howes noted that he was proud to see the Cushing contingent actively engage in difficult conversations that will push students at Cushing – along with those around the country – forward.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.