- Sponsorship -

Kent County Students to Share Message on Diversity

The bottom line is: “You’re human,” said Willianna Paulino, a junior at Grand Rapids University Prep Academy.

Willianna played a Monopoly-style game that challenged students at Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance’s recent Calling All Colors Conference to consider life from different perspectives, including class, race and generational status.

“I learned stuff I really wouldn’t have thought of,” she said, adding that factors like race and class don’t make a person good or bad.

The Calling All Colors program was recently expanded from Lakeshore-area schools to Kent County through a partnership between LEDA and the Kent ISD because of demand from teachers and students, said Program Director Sarah Salguera. Joi Hill, a junior at Grand Rapids University Prep Academy waits for Malik Clincy, a Northview junior to write down an answer

About 150 students left the conference armed with information on ways to promote the program at their schools.

Tools for Creating Change

LEDA, a 17-year-old Holland-based organization, works to break down barriers to allow people of all ethnic backgrounds equal access and opportunity to be part of the community. Calling All Colors offers a year-long program that features two conferences and provides tools for increasing positive racial impacts for middle and high school students.

A safe place to talk about race is critical as a society. Talking about race is one of those issues we don’t have a lot of safe space to exploer building awareness and getting students engaged, Salguera said.

The conference at Aquinas College included students from Ottawa Hills, Thornapple Kellogg, Northview, Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, Union, Innovation Central, Forest Hills, Godfrey Lee, Comstock Park high schools and Kent Career Technical Center. Students participated in activities that helped break down stereotypes and focused on diversity education through quiz games and Jeopardy.

The conference was the kick-off to a year-long program to put lessons of diversity at schools, said Khayree Williams, LEDA youth coordinator. Students will work on four lesson plans this year to create a project and return for a spring conference to present what they learned.

“We want it to be student-driven, how they want to create change at their schools,” Salguera said.

In previous years, Lakeshore schools have created videos, held assemblies and read books with elementary students to engage them in conversations about race.

Northview High School seniors Maddie Lineberry and Rachel Vredevelt attended the recent Calling All Colors conference to return to their school a strong message about the need to respect everyone. The members of their school’s WAVE (Welcoming, Accepting, Valuing Everyone) club were excited to become involved,

Students from Kent County schools are working to start conversations about diversity at their schools“We’re hoping to bring back the lesson that everyone is different but we want to bring everybody together,” Maddie said. “No matter what race or color,” added Rachel.

CONNECT

Calling All Colors

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

LATEST ARTICLES

District’s newest school is a winner in green design

Southwest Middle High School - Academia Bilingue is a state-of-the-art, $20 million project that has earned LEED silver certification...

State still pushing for federal waiver of M-STEP this spring

A Jan. 25 request from the Michigan Department of Education to the U.S. Department of Education to not administer standardized testing, including the M-STEPS, in spring 2021 is still on the table...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

- Sponsorship -

Issues in Education

Districts on the hunt for 3,000 missing students

School leaders have been working to find students who didn’t show up in the fall, make sure they’re being educated and maybe even persuade them to return...

SNN Editorial

Gauging the fallout from the pandemic on learning

While parents and educators use assessments to determine many kinds of student learning, a local researcher urges caution with testing from the pandemic year...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS