Six Prep School Students Attend Conference on Diverse Leadership in Nashville, Tennessee

This month, six Prep School students attended the 25th annual NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference, which is limited to 1,600 students nationwide and just six students per school, seeks to foster peer leadership and provide a platform to discuss and reflect on issues surrounding diversity. This year, programming at SDLC focused on the importance of allyship in multiethnic spaces, equity leadership, injustices faced by students who enter the criminal justice system, emotional intelligence when connecting with a diversity of people, and the power of leadership for people of color. 

The six CGPS students, current members of The Multi-Ethnic Cultural Awareness (MECA) club in the Prep School, attended SDLC to strengthen their leadership and facilitation skills, which they will use here in the CGPS community. Attending SDLC has been a tradition for CGPS students since 2002. Co-advisor of MECA and Prep and Middle School technology teacher Melanie Royster reflects that their participation is both educational and empowering, “At SDLC, participating students learn strategies for practicing social justice through dialogue as well as how to be an ally. This training prepares them with ways in which they can apply this learning back at school in MECA and the greater community.”

Imani C. ‘20 explained how meaningful the conference was to her personally. “Often issues of diversity across all platforms aren't explored. I am very passionate about human rights and injustices that people face, and the conference was a perfect opportunity to learn about those topics. It is very rare to be in a space where everyone accepts everyone for who they are, and works to make sure that everyone feels included.” She adds, “It is very important to expose people to all types of experiences that others have. It is easy to get wrapped up in your own bubble, but educating ourselves about diversity helps us become more empathetic people.” 

Ms. Royster echoes Imani’s sentiment. “As an educator, it is a privilege to witness the transformation that the attendees of this conference experience,” she explained. “Students thrive in the safe, inclusive environment that SDLC creates. The growth that they experience from participation and their dedication to positively influencing the CGPS community is inspiring.”