Students reflect on diversity leadership conference

The six Ransom Everglades students who attended the 2022 Student Diversity Leadership Conference took the stage at the Lewis Family Auditorium Jan. 17 to share their experiences with their upper school peers and encourage RE to become a more welcoming and accepting community. During a roundtable discussion, the students – Mackenzie Buckner ’24, Eleonora Cavallini ’23, Daniel Figueroa ’24, Francisco Gomez Rivas-Vazquez ’24, Karyna Steele ’23 and Malena Tewari ’23 – explained how they benefited from the multiracial, multicultural gathering in San Antonio of upper school student leaders from across the nation. 
The theme of the Nov. 30-Dec. 3 conference held by the National Association of Independent Schools was "We the People: Leveraging Our Community to Preserve Our Humanity." Nine faculty/administrators from RE attended the parallel People of Color Conference for adults: David Clark ’86, COO and Interim Head of the Upper School; Wendell Graham ’74, Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement; and Amy Sayfie Zichella ’93, Director of Admission and Enrollment Management; DEI Consultant to RE Victoria Beatty '00; and faculty members James Monk, Brandon King, Vanessa Lopez, Franz Huggins and Corinne Rhyner.

During the roundtable facilitated by diversity practitioner Carla Hill, the students covered a range of topics related to the conference: their own self-discovery; their experiences with others in various groups; and the surprises, highlights and take-aways that can benefit the students at Ransom Everglades. Several agreed that the best part of the conference – which included 1,600 students from around the nation – was stepping outside of their comfort zones. "It was incredibly uncomfortable," Figueroa said. "You learn from being uncomfortable."

The RE upper schoolers in attendance applauded each speaker, and Student Government Association President Loriz Arrencibia '23 thanked the panel at the conclusion of Jan. 17 assembly. The students later made presentations on their experience at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference to RE's faculty and board of trustees.

Students who want to participate in the school's diversity council or attend the annual SDLC conference are selected after an application process.
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.