On Saturday, February 6, 14 Belmont Day students from grades 5 to 8 attended the daylong Middle School Students of Color Conference. This annual conference presented by the Association of Independent Schools in New England was held virtually this year due to the pandemic and was hosted by The Rivers School. The conference was packed with a variety of workshops, affinity group meetings, speakers, and even a chance to dance, play trivia games, and socialize with students from other schools. The keynote speaker was Mykee Fowlin (Dr. Michael Fowlin), a psychologist, performer, and poet.
Belmont Day faculty also participated at the conference. School psychologist Dr. Leesa Mercedes facilitated the Latinx Affinity Group and middle school Spanish teacher Ana Maria Restrepo chaperoned our students online for the day. The BDS students who attended the conference are: fifth graders, Olivia Dawson, Sophie Jean, William Li, Ayres Planck, and Kalkidan Shiferaw; sixth graders, Natalie Jean, Sahana Miduturu, and Anurag Mujumdar; seventh graders, Anisah Jordan, Juliana Li, and Matthieu Small; and eighth graders, Toby Gauld, Alexander Colangelo, and Henry Monroe.
After the conference, the students shared reflections on the conference. Here are a few of those thoughts:
Sahana Miduturu, Grade 6: “Some things I really enjoyed about the conference were meeting people and hearing their experiences. I also really enjoyed the social meetup at the end of the conference, which was basically dancing and doing trivia. Oh, and I really enjoyed the performance from Mykee Fowlin. It made me laugh and cry at the same time!”
Matthieu Small, Grade 7: “I really enjoyed the experience of being able to go to the conference, even if it wasn’t in person. I attended the Art of Protest workshop, which I found fun. We learned about how important murals and art can be during protests, and even got to make our own work of art that supported a cause. I attempted to make one, it did not turn out well because of my lack of artistic ability. I would recommend attending a conference because you learn about these protests and causes while having so much fun doing it.”
Toby Gauld, Grade 8: “I enjoyed attending the “Representation and Identity in Politics” session. I am very interested in politics in general, so I thought that this would be a good way to expand my knowledge of how identity affects political views. We discussed current events such as the Capitol riots and the Black Lives Matter movement and how people who participated in these events are represented in the media.”