On January 21, upon returning from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, Belmont Hill held its Community Action Day.
In the morning the School Meeting began with student perspectives from the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) held in December in Seattle. A silent movement activity was then held to help the community see the school’s population. Earlier in the month, the faculty and students completed anonymous surveys in which each respondent would self-identify their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The surveys were randomly distributed on the seats and each group was asked to stand when their “group” was announced. This allowed the school body to observe the makeup of the Belmont Hill population and to reflect on those numbers represented by each.
Following this powerful activity, Director of Community and Diversity Caleb Collins introduced Marvin Pierre, the founder of Houston-based 8 Million Stories. Pierre is a Tabor Academy graduate who, after a career in finance, pursued an education path aimed at helping young men of color. The mission of 8 Million Stories is to provide disconnected youth (ages 14-18) who have been pushed out of our school system, with an opportunity to complete their education and obtain meaningful employment and to stop the school-to-prison pipeline.
In closing, Pierre urged the students to give back, saying, “We all carry a special privilege. We are all here. Whether you are black or white, we all have special privileges. In terms of looking at the state of our society now, we need that now more than ever. We need people who are gifted to be really giving back to address the pressing issues of our society. You will all be called to do that at some point in your life and I am asking that you answer that call in whatever shape or form you have the capacity to help.”
The school day consisted of the following SDLC-led workshops: Molecule Activity presented by Stalin Polanco and Charlie Booth. Spectrum presented by Jacob Czarnecki and Hamza Shemsu. Fishbowl moderated by Erick Silva and Ysael Porro. Privilege Walk organized by Kai Ogenah and Ruphael Getahun. Masculinity presented by Griffin Hamilton and Adil Kassim. Additional workshops also included Ally is a Verb with Brathes Sanchez, Matt Travaglini, Zach Travaglini, Martin Wilson, and Ms. Zener and a forum presented by Mr. Masiiwa.
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Belmont Hill School educates boys in mind, body, and spirit to develop men of good character. Our community encourages and challenges students to discover and pursue passions, seek excellence, and face adversity with resilience. We cultivate critical thinking and creativity, teamwork and competition, hard work and reflection, tradition and innovation. Valuing our differences and working together, we embrace camaraderie, compassion, and service to others. Our school strives to instill in each boy ethical judgment, a sense of common humanity, and a lifelong love of learning.