Student-leaders share experiences at Student Diversity Leadership Conference
The Ransom Everglades students who attended the 2023 National Association of Independent Schools’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference in St. Louis, Mo., shared the experience with their peers during a roundtable discussion at the Lewis Family Auditorium on Jan. 16. The students – Jamora Arroyo-Jefferson '24, Kaige Brown '25, Isabel Chong '24, Ron "R.J." Donaldson '25, Tyira Jackson '24 and Anuradha "Anu" Tewari '25 – explained how the event worked and what they gained from it, and they took questions from Diversity Council advisor Carla Hill.
The panelists were busy from 6 a.m. until midnight during the Dec. 1-4 conference. The days were filled with thoughtful speakers, powerful group sessions and a range of affinity groups, the students said, allowing every attendee to connect with peers with similar backgrounds or life experiences. The conference’s theme was “Gateways to Freedom: A Conference of truth, joy, knowledge and power.”
“The amount of joy I had at SDLC – it was great,” Donaldson said. “There wasn’t any point in time that I wanted the day to be over. I was happy … I appreciated the time I had there; and I appreciated the peers I discovered there.”
RE students and Hill agreed that the conference helped them appreciate the diversity, equity and inclusion work ongoing at Ransom Everglades. Hill in 2019 was named RE’s inaugural Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement, a position now held by Wendell Graham ’74, who was the first Black student at the Ransom School.
“Ransom Everglades was, surprisingly, one of the most diverse schools at the conference,” Jackson said. “It gave me a newfound appreciation for how the school operates. Though we have things we can do, we also have done a lot. Ransom Everglades is making actual steps toward diversity, equity and inclusion …. I appreciate Ransom Everglades more after going to this conference.”
Students active on RE’s diversity council are eligible to attend next year’s SDLC.
“Our school is doing a great job with diversity,” Brown said, ”I hope we will continue to celebrate the diversity of the people around us, and appreciate each other for who we are.”
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.